What makes an LGBT-friendly campus? The question is a very personal one. Each student needs to evaluate their prospective university or college with their own rubric and sense of what makes LGBT campus life appealing.
Try looking through the Resources section and the Community page to gain a better sense of the Princeton LGBT community. To see the types of programs regularly offered and to view a current semester calendar, visit the Events section.
You can also contact Debbie Bazarsky, The LGBT Center Director, who can answer any questions you might have about LGBT life on campus. She will be able to refer you to current students with whom you may share similar values, backgrounds, or concerns. The Pride Alliance, one of the undergraduate LGBT groups, and the Queer Graduate Caucus can also serve as resources. Finally, if you are able to visit the campus, we encourage you to stop by The LGBT Center.
Student Organizations & Groups
Below is a sample of student organizations. For a complete list and descriptions of each, visit our Campus Organizations page.
Programming & Events
The LGBT Center and the student groups on campus host many programs and events each year. Check out this semester's calendar, view a list of our annual events, or read about events from previous years.
LGBT Email List
There are nearly 700 people on the LGBT Announcement List. The list is an anonymous compilation of email addresses used to disseminate information to interested students. It is not an indicator of sexuality, nor is it indicative of the number of LGBT students at Princeton.
Below are several students' opinions about LGBT life on campus. For more stories from individual students, visit the Student Experience page.
- General Campus Climate for LGBT Students
- Coming Out at Princeton
- Academic Life
- Social Life
- LGBT Events Not to Be Missed
"I think the existence of the LGBT Center, the Pride Alliance, and other LGBT groups are factors that make me feel welcome on this campus. I also see ally pins and ally signs everywhere I go, including dorms, administrative offices, and the health center." --Female, Lesbian, Senior
"Princeton University campus feels welcome and safe for LGBT students because of the abundance of introductory programming and "welcome back" programming for LGBT students. When I first arrived on campus, there were so many large gatherings for the LGBT community to welcome new students, such as the barbeque, ice-cream social, etc. that I immediately felt welcomed into a larger campus LGBT community." --Non-Gendered, Bisexual, Junior
"I think the existence of the LGBT Center, the Pride Alliance, and other LGBT groups are factors that make me feel welcome on this campus. I also see ally pins and ally signs everywhere I go, including dorms, administrative offices, and the health center.""I have personally had a great experience here in terms of the comfort level that I have felt. In the classroom, dorm, and at the eating clubs—that is, in academic, residential, and social settings—I have never felt threatened, and I have felt welcome and actively supported in all those contexts about 90% of the time. An example of this is from when I took a guy to my eating club for the first time. It was last Spring and I was sort of nervous about it because I was sitting at a table with these really “fratty” guys. I had to leave early for a show I was in and when I made to leave after patting my date on the back, the guys and their dates actually teased me about being embarrassed in front of them. They said if I didn’t kiss my date goodbye that one of them would do it!" --Male, Gay, Senior
"I came out during the beginning of my sophomore year on campus. It was a wonderful experience, and the first time in my life I actually felt like I belonged enough to a larger community and explored my identity enough to come out comfortably to myself and others. I really count the openness and acceptance of the larger Princeton University community as the reason I came out at that time. I was so surprised that so many of my straight friends were really accepting allies and my change in outwardly proclaimed sexual identity really had a small impact on so many people, the Princeton "I came out during the beginning of my sophomore year on campus. It was a wonderful experience, and the first time in my life I actually felt like I belonged enough to a larger community and explored my identity enough to come out comfortably to myself and others."LGBT community was really supportive at this time, and it was just a generally terrific experience." --Non-Gendered, Bisexual, Junior
"I came out before I arrived at Princeton, and being out of the closet I knew that there was absolutely no way that I would ever go back in. That’s the mindset with which I approached my situation at Princeton, deciding that I would be completely out from the start, and make it obvious to people to ensure that I wouldn’t have to go through coming out all over again with a new group of friends. For me, this meant posting pages from gay magazines on my walls, and of course wearing my little rainbow flag on my bag, and this posed no problem, even to my 5 other roommates, 2 of whom had never met a gay person before in their life. Because I was so open from the start, I met little to no adversity; my sexuality was just a part of me that most people accepted the moment they met me, or the moment they realized it. For that reason I had no problems coming out at Princeton, and I wouldn’t describe it as necessarily a difficult place to come out, but of course that depends on the group of friends who you choose at the start. There are people here who wouldn’t associate with me because I’m gay, but it’s also very easy to find an accepting and welcoming group of friends who will support you in your choice of sexual partner, no matter the gender." --Male, Gay, Junior
"I came out after the orientation week called 'Reflections on Diversity' that is intended to get students thinking about issues relating to minority interaction with the rest of the student body. Every year there is an LGBT speaker and the one when I was a freshman told a story about being out at an eating club and a huge football player coming up to him and asking 'Are you gay?' The story was great because it turned out that when the speaker had responded in the positive, the football player said 'Cool, I am too.' That everyone in the auditorium laughed at the story and applauded after the LGBT speaker had finished made me feel really comfortable. That made me confident enough to come out during our dorm discussion of the event later that night, and I’ve never had any feelings of trepidation about coming out to anyone at Princeton since then." --Male, Gay, Senior
"I was really worried at Princeton that the faculty and staff would be uptight and stuffy and that I wouldn't be accepted here. Boy was I wrong. I would hazard a guess that at least 80% of my professors/TAs/etc have been allies. Many times in my social science courses, etc. the issue of sexuality has come up and all students and faculty alike have shown positive intelligent and educated views on subjects that were debated or discussed. This year alone, 3 out of 4 of my professors actively display ally pins on their bags/briefcases or ally triangles in their office. It really makes you feel like you are among friends and have so much support when you see them enter the classroom." "This year alone, 3 out of 4 of my professors actively display ally pins on their bags/briefcases or ally triangles in their office. It really makes you feel like you are among friends and have so much support when you see them enter the classroom."--Non-Gendered, Bisexual, Junior
"While there is a lack of queer studies classes, the faculty—as at any Ivy League school—is overwhelmingly supportive of LGBT issues. In recent years they have hired a post-doc to teach 2-4 classes per year on queer studies and there is an active LGBT Task Force that includes professors, students, and the alumni group that is working on getting more classes." --Male, Gay, Class of ’06
"My Japanese teacher knows that I am a lesbian, and she is very sensitive when asking questions relating to our personal life. For example, one time in class when my teacher asked us whether we would stay friends with our ex, instead of using 'boyfriend' or 'girlfriend' like what the sample sentence did, she used 'partner.'" --Female, Lesbian, Senior
"Most of my social involvement with LGBT students comes from attending the numerous events (almost one every day) sponsored by the LGBT Center for Princeton University and other supportive departments and centers. There will be a coffeehouse one day, a lecture the next, a hangout the next day, and a drag ball the next. The mix of interests and topics allows me to see a range of the LGBT community everyday. Despite my lack of active planning to socialize with the LGBT community during nights out on 'the street' where the majority of Princeton socialization happens, I cannot help but hang out with different LGBT members of every club and group on campus--we are everywhere, and we make our presence known." --Non-Gendered, Bisexual, Junior
"The social scene for LGBT students at Princeton is surprisingly good. While Princeton doesn’t have a gay club of its own, Terrace Club (one of the eating clubs on the Street) is a hub of LGBT social life. While all of the eating clubs have gay and lesbian members, no club has as overwhelming a queer vibe as Terrace. For those less into partying, the plethora of LGBT events on campus create another great venue for LGBT socializing. I’ve always loved First Fridays at Café Vivian (located in the Frist Student Center), where LGBT students get together the first Friday of every month for free coffee. First Fridays has long been a feature of LGBT life on campus, but it has really grown in recent years as more and more students have come out on campus." --Female, Queer, Senior
"The annual Drag Ball, hosted by Terrace Club, is one of the most popular and fun LGBT events on campus. The Drag Ball draws both students straight and gay and brings out the drag inside all of us.""The truth about Princeton's social scene is that it is incredibly fun, but also fairly nuclear in that it is small and cut off from the surrounding community. As it is also a fairly small school that means, simply by the sheer reality of the numbers of gay students that are here, Princeton certainly doesn't resemble a circuit party. That said, it’s also an incredibly supportive place and there are loads of activities and groups to bring the gay people together. Also, every eating club has out people in it, while Ivy, Tower, and Terrace are particularly known for their gay memberships being high. New York isn’t far so if you want to go clubbing at the Roxy, that’s absolutely something you can do. On campus, however, you’ll probably find yourself having the most fun without distinguishing between a gay and a straight scene. So, in nutshell, you can make out on the dance floor at a Princeton eating club, people might even cheer you on at some of them, you just have to find someone to do it with—and I think that might even be a good thing." --Male, Gay, Senior
"The annual Drag Ball, hosted by Terrace Club, is one of the most popular and fun LGBT events on campus. The Drag Ball draws both students straight and gay and brings out the drag inside all of us. There’s a competition with prizes at midnight for the best drag queens and kings and the competition is always fierce. This past year we took our drag ball to a whole new level by hosting the first ever All-Ivy Drag Competition which featured special guest judge Shirley Tilghman, our University president and drew hundreds of students." --Female, Queer, Senior
"I cannot think of just one event an LGBT student should not miss, but my favorite would be the all ivy-drag show or the drag ball. One other favorite is Queer Articulations, a week long LGBT film extravaganza that just jam packs you schedule with fun socialization opportunities." --Non-Gendered, Bisexual, Junior
"The Annual Terrace F. Club Drag Ball, hosted by the Queer Radicals. It’s an amazing event where hundreds of people dress to transgress gender norms and compete to be Princeton ’s best drag king and drag queen. There are always a number of competitors, and many people who don’t compete will dress in drag just for the fun of it. Another event which I am tempted to mention is the first ever All Ivy Drag Competition which we held at Princeton in April of 2005. This event was a huge success, drawing approximately 600 people as well as 8 competing drag kings and queens from Yale, Columbia , Princeton , and UPenn, as well as a special guest from Berkeley College in NJ. It was hosted by two fabulous professional drag artists, Luster, a drag king from Ohio, and Hedda Lettuce, a famous drag queen from New York City. The event was great at introducing a number of Princeton students to drag and the LGBT community, raising awareness and acceptance of those who may enjoy performing gender in ways other than what would be socially accepted." --Male, Gay, Junior
Students describe the following teams as especially LGBT-friendly:
- Women’s Rugby
- Men’s Swimming
- Women’s Crew
"Princeton has unbelievably active and involved alumni and LGBT alumni are no exception. The LGBT alumni group sponsors campus speakers, helped fund our 'Gay? Fine by me' t-shirt campaign, pays for students to fly to and attend the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's Creating Change Conference each year, and is currently funding Princeton ’s first ever post-doc fellowship in LGBT "LOCATION! We are right between New York City and Philadelphia. No one wants to stay on campus all the time, so we go right to two of the best cities in the US."studies." --Female, Queer, Senior
"We are extremely lucky to have The LGBT Center director, Debbie Bazarsky, who works full time to fulfill the needs of LGBT students. She is always working hard to put on events of interest and to make sure that the university deals with things in an accepting and LGBT friendly way. We also, come January 2006, are going to have our very own LGBT student center, which should serve as a great hang out/study spot for LGBT friendly students on campus." --Male, Gay, Junior
"LOCATION! We are right between New York City and Philadelphia. No one wants to stay on campus all the time, so if we want to go out, we don't have to visit a crummy mall in suburbia or some other small venue, we go right to two of the best cities in the US." --Non-gendered, Bisexual, Junior
Little Known Facts about Princeton's LGBT Community
"The alumni group, called Fund For Reunion , has over 1,000 members and over a million dollar endowment. They not only hold events every month for alumni all over the country, but they are also active in the current campus community. They host regular events on campus, provide scholarships, and fund an annual lecture series and lavender graduation. They are also involved in many undergraduate and graduate student projects such as sponsoring students to attend the annual Creating Change conference." --Female, Lesbian, Senior
"The LGBT Center director Debbie Bazarsky has a drag alter ego which occasionally makes appearances on campus, serving to shake up the heteronormative perspectives of many people in the Princeton community." --Male, Gay, Junior
"Two years ago the Pride Alliance began a campaign of giving away free 'Gay? Fine by me' t-shirts. After about 45 minutes of distribution, we had gone through about 500 shirts. What really struck me about the whole distribution event though was that members of the football team seemed the most excited about the t-shirts and some were very disappointed when we ran out. For weeks following the event, members of the Pride Alliance were inundated with requests for extra t-shirts, some people even offering to pay for the free t-shirts in order to get them sooner." --Female, Queer, Senior
For stories about individual students' experiences, click here.
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