LGBTQ+ Diversity Support Center
What's Our Why?
Welcome to the University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo website for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer students and plus which goes on to include many more identities and orientations. Respecting the rights and dignity of all people, the University strives to maintain an inclusive and safe campus for all students regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. Traditional Hawaiian culture prior to colonization and the introduction of Christianity was characterized by an openness and acceptance of relationship diversity, including same-gender relationships; in the spirit of honoring the indigenous culture and LGBTQ+ students, UH Hilo attempts to honor this tradition.
If you're an LGBTQ+ student considering attending UH Hilo, know that the University strives to provide a welcoming and safe environment for you. This welcoming environment is demonstrated from the time you first come to UH Hilo. For example, during the week of orientation the First Year Experience office organizes a special social gathering for LGBTQ+ students and their allies.
LGBTQ+ students will find that many of their needs can be met through existing programs, services, and organizations offered on campus. The University of Hawaiʻi President's Office also sponsors a Commission on the Status of LGBTI Equality. The Commission promotes a safe and inclusive environment by creating a culture of equality, acceptance, and respect throughout the UH system, and advocates for the creation, implementation, and adherence to Hawaiʻi State and University policies that serve the needs of LGBTQ+ students, staff, and faculty. UH Hilo is represented by at least two commissioners .
Many University staff members have been trained in providing a Safe Zone for students. Safe zone training raises awareness of LGBTQ+ concerns, enables University faculty and staff to better understand the concerns and experiences of LGBTQ+ students, and encourages them to provide a comfortable place for the LGBTQ+ population on campus. They are your allies. If you see a Safe Zone symbol on an office door on campus, it identifies a person you can trust: someone who will be understanding, supportive, and helpful. View a map of gender neutral restrooms on campus (PDF).
In addition, the University has had an active LGBTQ+ student organization for many years, called Pride Hilo. Pride Hilo is comprised of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, plus (LGBTQ+) student, staff, and faculty members and their friends and allies. The organization (first called the Gay & Lesbian ʻOhana) was formed in 1991 as the first organized campus-based support network for the LGBTQ+ people on the island of Hawaiʻi. The mission of Pride Hilo is to nurture, educate and advocate for LGBTQ+ issues across UH campuses and the greater Hawaiʻi community. It helps coordinate outreach activities that increase awareness, understanding, and tolerance of LGBTQ+ issues.
On the sidebar, you will find links to additional resources, both in the community and online, on a wide range of topics, such as coming out, health and wellness, LGBTQ+ studies, sports and athletics, straight allies, spirituality and religion, and national LGBTQ+ organizations.