Earlier this year, Penn led Newsweek magazine's list of Best Gay-Friendly Schools, a distinction that highlights the University’s ongoing commitment to diversity. Increasing access and honoring diversity is one of the principles of the Penn Compact. The University is devoted to building an academic atmosphere open to different cultures, ethnicities and perspectives, knowing that diversity contributes to educational excellence.
On Penn’s campus, there are many resources and organizations that offer support to the LGBT community. One of those places is the Penn LGBT Center. Established in 1982, it is one of the longest-running college and university resource centers of its kind in the nation. Located in a restored 19th century Carriage House at 3907 Spruce St., the Center offers space for students to study, and facilities for meetings and events that are open to students, faculty and staff.
Also, working alongside Penn’s Lambda Alliance, a coalition group that represents the interests of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities on campus, the Admissions Office has instituted special outreach programs for newly admitted lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender students who self-identify as LGBT.
And most recently, Penn President Amy Gutmann added her voice to the “It Gets Better Project,” offering lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth messages of hope. In making a video for the project, Gutmann joins President Barack Obama, many Broadway and Hollywood stars and other role models who have offered inspirational words and shared personal experiences with young men and women who may be facing adversity because of their sexual orientation.
“The recent incidents of bullying and discrimination against LGBTQ youth are terrible tragedies," Gutmann says. “It's important that young people know that there are communities such as Penn that will welcome them and will embrace and accept them for who they are.”
In her video, Gutmann says diversity makes our society stronger.
“We need you to be yourself. Not everyone accepts this truth. If you are being bullied, if you are scared, or if you feel alone, reach out to friends and family. Know that there are communities ready to welcome you with open arms.”
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Text by Jeanne Leong
Video by Kurtis Sensenig