I’m a junior in high school and starting to look at colleges. I’ve recently come out to my family as trans and they are very understanding and supportive. They just want me to be happy and know that I haven’t been for a long time. In looking for a school, I want to be sure that I will be able to be out and that I’ll be safe. And, I’d like to find friends so I can have the social life I didn’t have in high school. It would help if there’s a Jewish community at the school. Of course, I’ve got some schools in mind that have good programs for the subject I want as my major. My folks say they’re OK with whatever I want as long as they can afford it. So, my question is: How do I find schools that are welcoming and safe for trans people? Where do I start?
-College Bound, Bucks County
Dear College Bound,
Good for you…on many fronts! It’s great that you have been able to come out and be who you really are. It’s also great that your family is supportive. And, it’s great, and really important, that you are thinking and planning in advance in order to make your college experience a good one. It sounds like you are asking a lot of the right questions as you begin your search.
One place to start is the Campus Pride Trans Policy Clearinghouse (www.campuspride.org), which allows you to search policies at colleges and universities in the United States. You can look for information on nondiscrimination policies, housing, changing name and gender on campus records, intramural athletics, admission applications, and more. You can also see how the schools you are interested in score on a checklist of questions that matter to trans people. And, they even have a list of the Top 10 Trans Friendly Schools. A place to find the Jewish information you want is from Nehirim (www.nehirim.org), a national organization that builds community for LGBTQ Jews, partners, and allies. They have a list of LGBTQ Jewish student organizations at colleges and universities around the country.
I’m glad you reached out and hope this will get you started. Be sure to write again if you have more questions. And, good luck finding the college that’s right for you.