Thesis

Assessing the needs of lesbian, gay, and bisexual students living in the residence halls at an urban institution

Living in the residence halls can have a tremendous impact on students' involvement and persistence in college, yet there has been limited research on the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students living in the residence halls. The purpose of the current study was to assess the needs of LGBT students living in the residence halls at an urban institution that is racially/ethnically diverse. Using mixed methodology, it was hypothesized that LGBT students living in the residence halls would perceive the campus climate as unwelcoming due to a lack of visible support; and a significant amount of LGBT students would discuss the need to have LGBT-specific housing options. Since there were minimal responses from transgender students, the researcher decided to focus on the needs of LGB students recognizing that the needs of transgender students may be very different. Five key themes arose in relation to the needs of LGB students living in the residence halls at an urban institution. These needs were: (1) living in an open, accepting environment; (2) support for the LGBT community; (3) safety against harassment and discrimination; (4) a physical space for LGBT students; and (5) offering LGBT workshops and groups. It is recommended that student affairs professionals create interventions with these needs in mind.

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