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HRC & HBCU Inclusive Excellence Initiative

The Inclusive Excellence Initiative is a capacity-building and systems change initiative designed to partner with Historically Black Colleges and Universities on an annual cycle to achieve benchmarks that promote promising policies and practices in LGBTQ+ inclusion. Through this initiative, participating institutions are given access to comprehensive resources, including a confidential online self-assessment tool, expert webinars on LGBTQ+ topics, technical assistance, and more.

Research shows us that Black LGBTQ+ students choose to attend HBCUs because they desire a college experience that values and provides historical richness for their Black identity (Squire & Mobley, 2015). However, at times, there is tension present as their sexual, racial, and gender identities are in conflict with their institutional cultures.

In 2018, the HRC Foundation released the Black and African American LGBTQ+ Youth Report to highlight the experiences of LGBTQ+ youth who identified part or all of their ethnic-racial identity as either Black or African American. The resource analyzed survey data of more than 1,600 Black and African American LGBTQ+ youth.

The results from the survey emphasize the importance of understanding the experiences of Black and African American LGBTQ+ people through an intersectional lens.

Although school is supposed to be a safe space for learning and building meaningful relationships, only 21% of Black and African American LGBTQ+ youth have heard positive messages about being LGBTQ+ in school.

Consequently, only 35% say they can “definitely” be themselves in school.

These feelings may compound for Black transgender students specifically, as 50% report they can never use the restroom that aligns with gender identity in school.


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