Hampshire College is listed among the top 20 “gay-friendly” colleges in Princeton Review’s Best 371 Colleges.
Campus Pride’s LGBT-Friendly “Campus Climate Index” scores Hampshire at 4.5 out of 5 stars. But what do such designations actually mean? At Hampshire College, we feel that sharing our own story and a few facts about our community might be even more helpful to LGBTQ students and their allies as you conduct your college search, and this newsletter is created for that purpose. If you would like to receive more information about Hampshire College, or to receive updates to the newsletter, there are links to do so at the bottom of this page. More >>
“Two years ago, when I started looking at colleges, I went to the Princeton Review and looked at the schools listed under ‘Gay Community Accepted.’ As much as I wanted to have discussions about the socio-economic implications of X in the literary works of Y, acceptance came first. . . I had no way of knowing how, within that pool, acceptance varied. I know now how lucky I am to have come to Hampshire. ‘Gay Community Accepted’ doesn’t even begin to cover it.” A Hampshire first-year student
Hampshire College is in a state (Massachusetts) and a college town (Amherst) where people are welcoming.
Massachusetts was the first U.S. state to issue same-sex marriage licenses and remains one of five marriage-equality states, four of which are in New England.
Among the many areas of study one can pursue at Hampshire is Queer Studies. Courses and projects focus on the law, family structure, media representations, public health, religion, the arts, cultural studies, sexuality, and biology. More >>
“I think it’s fantastic that Hampshire has created an environment where students don’t have to label their genders or sexuality, where they feel supported enough to work this out on their own terms and to be part of community that supports them.” Emily Rimmer, director for queer/women services (shown at right)
Started by students years ago, the Queer Community Alliance (QCA) is a group that fosters support and builds community for students. QCA is a group for everyone who falls under the umbrella of "queer" and is a wide-reaching organization that unites subgroups. (shown left: Mike Wolf 07F and
Cyree Johnson 07F, two of the student signers for QCA) More >>
The Queer Community Alliance Center (QCAC) is an administrative resource center as well as social space. QCAC is committed to education and outreach, providing an important place for people to talk about their experiences with gender. More >>
“. . . I would like to thank the school, specifically my class, the faculty, and the staff for allowing me and encouraging me to find myself. Thank you for helping me arrive as out gay, black, queer, Christian, understanding and struggling with myself, but yet standing here very proud of these complications and the clarity they provide.” Christopher McMillan, Commencement 2007 student speaker (shown at left), who is now studying at Laban Conservatory and Dance in London
QCA holds weekly meetings, during which they have discussions and plan upcoming events such as Queertillian, a semi-formal dance at Hampshire being organized by LGBTQ groups from all five campuses in the Five College consortium. Another big event on campus is Drag Ball, an annual dance with all attendees encouraged to dress in drag.
The QCA Center is open Sunday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. On Tuesday nights, student monitors screen movies. On Friday nights, QCA signers host a potluck and show films on queer issues.
A bus was arranged from Hampshire for all those who wished to join the National Equality March on Washington, D.C., on October 11, 2009.
“No other institution values difference, and the unique perspective it brings, as much as Hampshire. In doing so, Hampshire has put itself at the forefront of the changing fabric of our world, seeking answers to increasingly complex questions by embracing the unique experiences wrought in every corner of the global community.” Jamie Citron, fall 2001 class
Jamie Citron 01F
(shown at left) is a special assistant in the Obama administration and was chosen by The Advocate
for its list of Forty Under 40
as someone to watch in the world of politics. He says: “The question at Hampshire isn't 'is it OK to be queer?' The question at Hampshire is 'what does it mean to be queer today, how can a queer perspective shed new light on broader issues of discrimination and injustice, and how does my queer identity inform the rest of who I am?' Hampshire changed the way I view self, and in doing so, how I view community.”
Award-winning filmmaker Helen Cohen 77S
is co-creator of Groundspark’s acclaimed Respect for All Project,
a program that produces cutting-edge films, curriculum guides and training resources to help prevent prejudice among young people. Her producing credits include It’s Elementary: Talking About Gay Issues in School
; That’s a Family!
; and Let’s Get Real
. She says of Hampshire: “As a graduate and now a trustee, I have found Hampshire College to be a remarkably open, inclusive placejust the kind of educational environment I wish my work to promote.”
Scott Gortikov 76F
is executive director of MassEquality
. He says of Hampshire: “I know firsthand how important it is for a young person who is LGBTQ to feel comfortable with the college they are attending.
Once upon a time, back in 1976 when I came to Hampshire College, I was one of those students.
“A prospective student wants to know: Will I make friends? Will I be accepted? Does the staff and administration authentically advance a curriculum or culture that explores LGBT issues and celebrates LGBT people? Will I find other LGBTQ folks among my teachers and my peers?
“Believe it or not, the answer was ‘Yes’ even back in 1976. And you know what? It's even more true today. . .” More >>
Filmmaker Rob Epstein 73F
has won two Academy Awards, for The Times of Harvey Milk
and Common Threads,
which used the AIDS Memorial Quilt as the central metaphor for the first decade of AIDS in the United States. Other Epstein films include Word Is Out,
capturing the personal journeys of 26 people developing their own gay identities, and The Celluloid Closet,
a 100-year history of homosexual characters in Hollywood movies, based on Vito Russo’s book. Epstein left college to move to San Francisco, where he began his film career, but has credited Hampshire with setting him on his journey: “Hampshire gave me the freedom to find the path I needed, and to feel secure about that. I had already started to construct my own educational path, so constructing my larger path felt like a valid choice. I don’t know if I could have found that freedom at another school.”
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