LGBTQ+ @ Bates

At Bates, we respect and welcome persons of all sexes, sexual and romantic orientations, gender identities, or gender expressions. We affirm that all students, staff, and faculty should feel safe, welcome, and supported on our campus. We reject homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, and heterosexism in all of their manifestations. As a community we acknowledge that such intolerance and discrimination often intersect with sexism, racism, and classism and other forms of inequality; we seek to educate all on the debilitating consequences of prejudice and bias and to dismantle heteronormativity on campus and beyond. We recognize that difference, in all its forms including sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression, enriches our campus community and enhances the learning environment for all.

Bates continues to actively evaluate, update, and add to our programming, policies, and resources for LGBTQ+ individuals and allies based on best practices. Below are the most up-to-date resources for students, faculty, and staff. If you have questions, suggestions, or are looking for resources or support,  please contact Natalie Bornstein, Program Coordinator in the Office of Intercultural Education, at or


Want to know more about LGBTQ+ life at Bates from students? Find out more here.

Academic Courses

In many of our academic departments and interdisciplinary programs, we provide academic courses and programs that examine different facets of sexuality and gender. We also offer a Gender and Sexuality Studies major and minor, and a Queer Studies General Education Concentration (GEC).

All-Gender Restrooms

All-gender restroom, or gender neutral restroom, is a restroom that anyone of any gender or non-gender can use. These restrooms can benefit many different people including families, differently abled persons, and transgender people. Historically, restrooms have been a place for harassment, discrimination, and threats of injury and arrest towards transgender people. All-gender restrooms provide an opportunity for our community members to enter a room without being questioned or interrogated. Remember to announce where all-gender restrooms are during events. List of all-gender restrooms at Bates.

Ally Education

The Office of Intercultural Education believes that one of the most effective ways to create a truly inclusive campus is to build a strong and active network of allies. The OIE currently provides an Active Allies Training Program and additional co-curricular events for allies. For more information click here.

Advising, Health & Support

Various offices and departments provide advising and support to our LGBTQ+ students, faculty, and staff.

Health Services provides a safe space for LGBTQ+ student to recieve both physical and mental health services on campus. Health Services offers medical support for trans students who are or wish to begin transitioning both at Bates and through local Lewiston medical services. Free counseling services are also available. To schedule an appointment, please visit the Heath Center.

Sexual Respect & Title IX Officer, Gwen Lexow, welcomes conversations with any Bates community member about gender or sexual respect.  In her role, she is charged with leading the college’s efforts to eliminate, prevent, and redress all known instances of sex- or gender-based misconduct, such as sexual harassment, sexual violence, stalking, intimate partner violence, and gender-based harassment or discrimination.  Her goal is to promote everyone’s ability to live and learn in an environment free from gender-based discrimination.

Student Support Advisors provide personal support and supplemental academic advising to a cohort of students. Students are assigned a Student Support Advisor prior to their matriculation and remain with their advisor for the duration of their enrollment at Bates. Advisors respond to student concerns as they arise and are the primary point of contact for personal or social concerns.

The Office of Intercultural Education supports all queer, questioning, and trans students through programming and informal advising. All staff members in the OIE are always available to meet one-on-one to support our students. In addition, the OIE has one ‘out’ staff member, Natalie Bornstein, who serves as a support for students looking to chat with someone who similarly identities.

Active Allies are faculty, staff, and students at Bates who have been training to provide information, sensitivity, and advocacy around gender and sexual diversity. Active Allies are a resource for queer, trans, and questioning students on campus to utilize if they need someone to talk to. Active Allies is a new program, therefore, while we are in transition, be on the look out for both Active Allies and Safe Space stickers around campus.

Bates Pride

An alumni network established to connect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgendered alums to each other and back to Bates. Membership is open to all LGBTQIA_ alumni, faculty, and administrative staff of the College as well as allies, friends, and supporters.

Larry Handerhan ’05 founded the group in 2010 with support from the Office of Alumni and Parent Programs. For more information, contact Larry Handerhan or go to the Facebook forum for LGBT alumni and allies of Bates College to exchange ideas, information, event listings, and items of interest.

BatesPRIDE in the news.

Guide for Faculty

SPARQ! Educator created a Guide for the Faculty including ways to create an inclusive classroom environment for queer, questioning, and trans students.


 The Residence Life Office offers open gender housing to increase inclusivity, to support the college’s non-discrimination policy regarding housing assignments and to respect the diversity within gender, sex and sexuality.

Open gender housing is available for all upperclass students (sophomores, juniors, and seniors). It allows students to pick a roommate or roommates based upon compatibility, without the constraints of biological sex or gender identity. Stillman and Herrick will remain all-female and all-male housing options respectively. For more information please click here. 

LGBTQ+ Programming

The Office of Intercultural Education is proud to offer the SPARQ! Program which strives to support queer students and increase representation of queer identities at Bates. SPARQ! provides peer support, ally education, celebration weeks, and other programming, that foster a true sense of safety and belonging amongst students, faculty, and staff. For more information please click here.

In addition, various academic and college administrative office provide LGBTQ+ focused programming and events. To find out more, check out the Bates Today and the College Events Calendar.  

LGBTQ+ Terminology

The LGBTQ+, Queer, or GSD community uses terms and labels as a way to describe and self-identify. Knowing how and when to use proper terms can be powerful. In addition, providing terms for those questions helps to provide a space for self-discovery and identity.

Please be aware that one term may be use in different way by different individuals (especially those that are used in the context of an identity label. It is always better to ask, and not assume. Below are some LGBTQ+ terminology resources.

Living Language LGBTQ Terminology

Ally’s Guide to Terminology

Gender and Sexuality Terminology (Video)

Peer Support

SPARQ! Peers are queer students at Bates who are trained to provide peer support to LGBTQ+ and ally students struggling with issues around gender, sexuality, and sexual orientation. SPARQ! Peers are available for drop-in hours in the front Study Room of the OIE, our confidential* space on campus. Click here to find out more!

*Confidential, in this context, means that all conversations are kept confidential unless sexual misconduct is disclosed, which must be reported.  


Bates College believes in the transformative power of our differences. Therefore, it holds policies around discrimination, bias, and sexual misconduct that help to protect all students. In addition, Bates prescribes to one of the most inclusion policies around trans athletes.

Bates Policies

Athletic Transgender Inclusion Policy 

Community Resources

Find support off-campus, in the community

Outright Lewiston/Auburn

Since 2009, OUTFront has partnered with Outright Lewiston/Auburn to host “Lewistunning Dragapalooza” at Bates College. OutrightLA provides services and outreach for LGBT youth in Lewiston/Auburn, offering a weekly drop-in support group for youth 22 and under. OutrightLA also offers an “Intersecting Oppressions Workshop,” which aims to address the multiple forms of oppression young GLBTQA people face and the connections between racism, classism, sexism, heterosexism, ageism and other forms of oppression. OutrightLA is a program of Western Maine Community Action.

Penny Sargent, Program Coordinator
179 Lisbon St
Lewiston, ME 04240

Equality Maine

EqualityMaine is a political alliance which works “to secure for equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in Maine.”  Originally established as the Maine Lesbian/Gay Political Alliance (MLGPA), the group was founded in 1984 in response to the murder of Charlie Howard, a gay-identified young man from Bangor. MPLGA adopted EqualityMaine in 2004. For over 25 years MPLGA/EqualityMaine has advocated for the Maine LGBT community, supporting initiatives such as the Maine non-discrimination law in 2005.

Betsy Smith, Executive Director
550 Forest Avenue, Suite 201
Portland, ME 04101
t. 207.761.3732
f. 207-761-3752

Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG)

PO Box 8742
Portland, ME
phone: 207.831.3015

Meetings held the second Tuesday of every at 7pm. Woodfords Congregational Church, 202 Woodford Street, Portland, Maine.

Maine College & University Organizations

Bowdoin College

Colby College

University of New England

University of Maine

National Resources


American Civil Liberties Union – LGBT Project

Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation

Human Rights Campaign

Lambda Legal


American Institute of Bisexuality

Bisexual Resource Center


Transgender Law Center

Transgender Law and Policy Institute


The Intersex Society of North America (ISNA)
ISNA provides a free and downloadable teaching guide – entitled “Teaching Intersex Issues”– designed for undergraduate courses. You can access the guide directly at

Academic Resources

USM  Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered Collection

Jean Byers Sampson Center for Diversity in Maine
Glickman Family Library
University of Southern Maine
314 Forest Avenue, Room 321
Portland, ME 04101
t. (207) 780-5039
f. (207) 780-4649

Consortium of Higher Education LGBT Resource Professionals

The Consortium promotes equity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender students, faculty, staff, administrators, and alumni in higher education. Read more about the vision and goals of the Consortium here.

The Consortium has developed LGBTQArchitect, a resource site with materials about program development and planning, outreach strategies, and assessment tools for campus professionals.

Gay, Lesbian and Straight Educator Network (GLSEN)

GLSEN “strives to assure that each member of every school community is valued and respected regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity/expression.” GLSEN provides educational resources, conducts research on sexual orientation and gender identity/expression, and sponsors initiatives to raise awareness and make school communities welcoming environments for all. Projects include Gay-Straight Alliances, Safe Space Ally Kit, Day of Silence, and ThinkB4YouSpeak.

Q Research Institute for Higher Education

A national institute for the study of LGBT people in higher education, which recently published “The State of Higher Education for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender People” (2010). Review theExecutive Summary.