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 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

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 provides an Active Ally 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 receive 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 contact the Health Center at 207.786.6199.

Director of Title IX & Civil Rights Compliance/Title IX Coordinator 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.

The Office of Intercultural Education supports all queer, questioning, and trans students through programming and informal advising. Staff members in the OIE are always available to meet one-on-one to support our students, and some of the professional staff in the OIE are members of the LGBTQ+ community.

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 can be a resource for LGBTQ+ and questioning students on campus to utilize if they need someone to talk to.


Students can change their gender on their HouseCat application, regardless of the gender listed through the Registrar. Some campus locations have gender-neutral or single-user bathrooms associated with them, and some do not. A full list is available here. Students should factor this into their housing preferences and are encouraged to list this concern in their application. Housing application information is only used by the professional staff in our office and is not linked to any other database on campus.

All houses and halls on campus are mixed gender. Please read more on Residence Life’s Open Gender Housing Policy. First-year students are paired with other students that match their selected gender identity on the Housing Application.

While we expect all students to create a welcoming environment for all members of the Bates community, students who are open to living with gender non-binary, transitioning, or questioning students are encouraged to let their openness and welcoming spirit known to the Bates Office of Residence Life and Health Education in the Additional Information section.

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 and trans 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 offices provide LGBTQ+ focused programming and events. To find out more, check out Bates Today and the College Events Calendar.  

LGBTQ+ Terminology

The LGBTQ+, Queer, or Gender and Sexual Diversity (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 used 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.

LGBTQ+ Vocabulary – Glossary of Terms

Peer Support

SPARQ Peer Mentors are LGBTQ+ students at Bates who are trained to provide peer support to LGBTQ+ and ally students who are looking for connection or mat be struggling with issues around gender, sexuality, and sexual orientation. Go here to find out more! 


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 inclusive policies around trans athletes.

Bates Policies

Athletics Trans Inclusion Guide 

Off-Campus Resources

Community Organizations

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 LGBTQIAP2+ 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.

Drop-In Address: 169 Pleasant Ave, Auburn Maine



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 EqualityMaine has advocated for the Maine LGBT community, supporting initiatives such as the Maine non-discrimination law in 2005.

Equality Maine Community Center
Portland, ME 04101
t. 207.761.3732
f. 207-761-3752

Maine Family Planning Open Door Transgender Health Services

Maine Family Planning staff provide compassionate, confidential health services, regardless of your gender identity or expression. Whatever decisions you make about your health, we listen and provide support without judgment.

Gender Affirming Healthcare Services at Maine Family Planning include:

  • Hormonal therapy & monitoring for trans people 18 years old & over
  • Onsite self-injection lessons for hormone injections
  • Referrals to specialty providers & community resources, including mental, behavioral, & medical providers
  • Yearly wellness visits, preventive care, birth control & safer sex supplies, STD testing & treatment, and abortion for patients of any gender

179 Lisbon St.
Lewiston, ME 04240
Book an appointment online here.

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

Equality Community Center
511 Congress Street, Portland Maine


Meetings held the first Tuesday of every at 7pm via zoom

USM LGBTQ+ 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

National Resources

Campus Consensus: Ultimate Campus Guide for LGBTQ Students


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


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.