Lgbt College Experience

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The challenges facing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students on college and university campuses are many. For example, LGBT students face harassment and discrimination at significantly higher levels than their heterosexual peers, and are twice as likely to receive derogatory remarks. As the visibility of LGBT college students and the adversity they face has increased, there is ever more pressure on college and universities to evaluate whether LGBT students’ needs are being met. LGBT organizations provide many opportunities for development and involvement for lesbian and gay students. There are many similarities between LGBT student groups and student groups in general. One similarity is the ever changing membership as students graduate; thus, these groups have frequent turnover. LGBT student groups especially are similar to other identity based organizations whose members are from a specific segment of society (namely, other minority groups). In many of these groups the members have experienced oppression and seek an organization for support and a sense of community. However, because LGBT groups are organized around sexual orientation and gender identity, they have specific characteristics that are inherent to issues surrounding these specific identities. During their collegiate experience, most gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students go through what is commonly referred to as the coming out process. During this time lesbian and gay students progress through several stages of identity development where they acknowledge their sexual orientation or gender identity to themselves, explore this sexuality, integrate their sexual orientation into the rest of their self-concept, and disclose their sexual orientation to the individuals in their lives. Several theories explain coming out and acknowledge that it is part of a more complicated developmental process, which begins with an uncertainty and questioning period and eventually ends with...
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