*edited on 06/08/2018*
The month of June is Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month. “For a LGBTQ+ student, picking a college is a matter of safety. It’s a matter of inclusion,” said Shane L. Windmeyer of Campus Pride, a nonprofit that evaluates campus climate for LGBT students. Denton, where UNT is located, is a progressive city, part of the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area, and is one of the nation’s fastest growing cities. At University of North Texas, the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community is a visible and valued part of campus life.
Windmeyer says that evaluating LGBTQ+-friendliness requires deep research into how campuses operate: “Just because you have a gay club doesn’t make your campus gay-friendly.” Fortunately for North Texas students though, UNT has taken steps to become more inclusive in the last few years, such as allowing for gender neutral bathrooms across campus. These unisex bathrooms are just one of the many steps UNT has taken toward equality and making life easier for transgender students on campus. In 2013, UNT saw the opening of an LGBT Resource Center on the third floor of Sage Hall and an expansion of the university’s nondiscrimination policy to include gender identity and expression–sexual orientation was already included. Willis Library hosts the LGBTQ+ archives with contributions from The Dallas Way and Resource Center Dallas, and students who want to develop their understanding of a dimension of diversity that may be relevant to their careers have the option to minor in the LGBT Studies program.
UNT also made Texas LGBT history in 2010 with the election of Dakota Carter. Dakota was the first openly gay student body president in Texas. While it hasn’t happened yet, inclusive polices have opened the door for a transgender student to be named homecoming royalty. Barring they meet the other requirements, any candidate that identifies as female may run for queen and any candidate that identifies as male may run for king– a rarity for most Texas universities. These programs, polices, and actions go hand and hand with UNT’s mission of providing a culturally diverse and mutually respectful environment where every member of the university community can feel safe, respected, and accepted.
Ally Training Program
Educates and trains students, staff and faculty to create a safe zone for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender people at UNT
Campus resource on topics of gender and sexuality and a safe and welcoming space for all
University Union 372
LGBT Student Organization
GLAD (Gay & Lesbian Association of Denton)
Group for gay, lesbian, bi, trans, queer/question, and ally (GLBTQA) students on campus and an ally with the wider DFW GLBTQA community
Public Facebook Group: Facebook.com/groups/UNTglad
Private Facebook Group: Facebook.com/groups/gladatunt
Gladlings Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/164300640318369/