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Nearly 2 Of 5 Students At Elite Colleges Identify As LGBTQ

Roughly 40% of students at some of America’s most elite colleges now identify as part of the LGBTQ population, according to a recent study.
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Roughly 40% of students at some of America’s most elite colleges now identify as part of the LGBTQ population, according to a recent study.

That’s nearly six times the U.S. population at large — and roughly twice as many Republicans as you’ll find on those campuses, the study’s authors indicate.

The study was reported earlier this month by The College Fix, a conservative website. The research was conducted by the Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology, or CSPI, which The Fix described as a center-right think tank.

CSPI analyzed data gathered by the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education in 2020 and 2021. FIRE, as the group is known, collected 57,000 responses from students at 159 colleges nationwide, which included everything from major state universities, to Ivy League and top private colleges like Notre Dame, Clemson, and Miami, and roughly two dozen elite liberal arts schools.

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CSPI noted that, collectively, they educate about 20% of the nation’s undergraduates, and their student bodies represent the “intellectually influential top tier.”

CSPI’s work ranged across a variety of demographic categories, to include race, gender, sexual orientation, and political affiliation.

Perhaps not surprisingly, CSPI reported, “There are about 2.5 liberals or Democrats for every conservative or Republican among [these] students.”

But what was surprising was the size and scope of the LGBTQ population on America’s influential and pricey liberal arts colleges — places like Wellesley, Amherst, Vassar, Colgate, and Oberlin.

“Liberal arts colleges are the least politically diverse. Many have almost no conservatives, and thus very low viewpoint diversity,” CSPI noted. “But they have high sexual diversity, at nearly 40 percent LGBT.”

Across all 159 schools studied by CSPI, none reported an LGBTQ population of less than 10% and overall about 23% of students at those colleges identified as LGBTQ.

That’s more than triple the 7.1% among all Americans, as the Gallup organization has found in its surveys, The Fix noted. And it equals the amount of Republicans found at these colleges.

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But among the 23 top liberal arts colleges covered in the research, the ratios were off the chart.

CSPI noted that about 21% of all Gen-Zers in America claim to be something other than heterosexual.

Yet at those 23 schools overall, 38% of students claim to be LGBTQ.

Three schools — Oberlin, Wellesley, and Smith College — actually reported having LGBTQ majorities, with 51%, 61%, and 70%, respectively. And given the high ratio overall, CSPI speculated that “several” of these colleges have likewise.

“Part of this effect is linked to the strongly liberal ideology at these colleges,” the report noted. “Liberal arts colleges sport a relatively female (56%) and liberal (72%) student body, though these factors alone do not fully explain their exceptionalism on this measure.”

In other words, politics helps explain, albeit not completely, the gravitation toward the LGBTQ side at the schools.

In an interview, Eric Kaufmann, a CSPI research fellow and board member, told The Fix, “Those who identify as ‘very liberal’ are substantially more likely to say they are LGBT and white left-wing activists are extremely likely to do so, with some 70% of very liberal women who support shouting down offensive speakers identifying as LGBT.”

And as the report itself observed, “Identity characteristics matter more for students’ political opinions than they do for the public. Consequently, women, minorities, and LGBTQ students at leading universities lean considerably further left than members of their identity groups in the wider population, even compared to those that are young and college-educated.”

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