Why LGBTQ+ campus resource centres are essential: A rallying cry from scholars

According to data from LGBTQ+ centres, there are more than 275 LGBTQ+ resource centres on college campuses in the US. — FG Trade / IStock.com pic via AFP
According to data from LGBTQ+ centres, there are more than 275 LGBTQ+ resource centres on college campuses in the US. — FG Trade / IStock.com pic via AFP

WASHINGTON, Oct 20 — In a commentary published Friday, a group of scholars highlight the importance of opening and maintaining LGBTQ+ resource centres on college campuses, offering greater support for LGBTQ+ students during the pandemic, which can be a time of heightened anxiety and depression.

“LGBTQ+ campus resource centers provide essential services for college and university communities and are increasingly necessary in light of the ongoing and reverberating impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

If there is one key message to take away from the “Why LGBTQ+ Campus Resource Centres are Essential” commentary, written by scholars from Lehigh University and Ohio State University in the US, then it should probably be that.

According to data from LGBTQ+ centres, there are currently more than 275 LGBTQ+ resource centers on university campuses in the USA. Research shows that the presence of these centers is correlated with lower levels of discrimination, less stress and increased self-acceptance among LGBTQ+ students. According to the authors of the commentary, published in Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity, the centers' main fields of action include support, counseling, fostering a sense of belonging among students, as well as LGBTQ+ advocacy.

The authors consider that campus LGBTQ+ resource centres are essential to the health, well-being and academic success of LGBTQ+ students, especially in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. In fact, the paper emphasises the potential consequences of cutting such services, and the distress and confusion these young people can suffer, exacerbated by the pandemic.

“College students' experiences shifted dramatically as a result of covid-19, often to the detriment of their health and well-being. For example, many LGBTQ+ students returned to unsafe and/or unsupportive homes when they were unable to remain on-campus; the abrupt and unexpected shift into these harmful and traumatic environments has exacerbated the need for additional support services,” the authors state.

In 2014, a study found that more than 25 per cent of lesbian, gay and bisexual college students witnessed or experienced some form of harassment, correlating with increased reports of anxiety and depression. — AFP-Relaxnews