LGBTQIQA is an umbrella acromyn that represents the following identity communities:

L (Lesbian); G (Gay); B (Bisexual); T (Transgender); Q (Queer); I (Intersex); Q (Questioning); A (Asexual)

The Counseling Center offers a wide range of services designed to support students in their personal and professional endeavors with the goal of promoting well-being in all aspects of life. LGBTQIQA students may experience difficulties during their academic careers such as:

In fact, these are common reasons why students seek counseling services here on campus. The Counseling Center offers free, confidential services to any student who is interested in receiving additional support. During a first visit students meet with a clinician to discuss treatment needs and receive resource referral recommendations.


Individual & Couples Counseling

Individual counseling provides LGBTQIQA students with a safe and confidential environment. Counseling at the Counseling Center is a collaborative endeavor in which the counselor and client work together to identify goals and directions for treatment.

Group Counseling

During the Fall and Spring Semesters of each academic year, the Counseling Center offers confidential group counseing. The Queer to Questioning Group (Q2Q), provides support to individuals along the continuum of sexual identity exploration and/ or development. The TrueSelves Group provides an open, affirming, and supportive space for those who identify as transgender, as having a non-conforming gender identity, and/or who are questioning their gender identity and gender expression.

Consultation Services

Consultation services are available to LGBTQIQA students as well as friends, faculty, staff, and family members. These services can help provide an understanding of the available Counseling Center services and how to help support LGBTQIQA students. To access these services, please contact the Counseling Center and request a consultation, by phone or in person, for you or about someone you know.


While there's no easy way to adequately describe the campus climate at any college or university, we have addressed some questions you may have about what to expect at JMU.

Is there an active LGBTQIQA student organization?

Yes, there are several! Madison Equality is a JMU student-run support organization for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender students. The primary mission of the group is to promote tolerance and acceptance through education and awareness and anyone who supports equality and queer rights is welcomed, regardless of orientation. Interested in joining? E-mail to learn more. Shades of Pride is a JMU LGBTQ+ student organization with a focus on black and brown queer communities and allies. It is open to everyone. DM @sopjmu on instagram or email to learn more. Students can learn more about Madison Equality and other student orgs available through logging into JMU's Be Involved website.

Is there a campus office for LGBTQIQA student services?

SOGIE promotes JMU's commitment to diversity through education, support, advocacy, and fostering of equity for all students, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. SOGIE staff are located on the first floor of the Student Success Center, in Rooms 1323 and 1324, and are available for support.

Are LGBTQIQA sensitive counseling services available?

Yes! The Counseling Center, located on the 3rd floor of the Student Success Center, offers free and confidential individual, group, and couples psychotherapy, as well as consultation services. Students who are interested (or who might be interested) in pursuing services are encouraged to contact the Counseling Center at (540) 568-6552 with questions. During a first visit students meet with a clinician to discuss treatment needs and receive resource referral recommendations.

Where can I find resources on coming out?

You do not have to feel alone in the coming out process. There are several spots on campus you can receive support and get more information on what to expect, including the staff at Counseling Center, Madison Equality, and Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE).

Are other campus offices supportive and inclusive of LGBT students and issues?

Members of the JMU community strive to be as supportive as possible of all students. A myriad of resources are available on campus that are specific to LGBTQIQA students, including housing, student health, career planning, and academic classes. For more information, visit the SOGIE resource page.

What activities are sponsored on campus for LGBT students?

SOGIE coordinates speakers, films, and other events throughout the academic year on campus. Also in that location, you will find an LGBTQ Resource Library with books, periodicals, videos, and other resources, and a hangout space (the Lavender Lounge), which is available to all members of the campus community. In addition, graduating seniors are encouraged to attend the Lavender Graduation Ceremony to celebrate their accomplishments at JMU!

For a schedule of even more on-campus events, visit the Be Involved events page.

Are supportive faculty and staff easily identifiable?

JMU's Safe Zone, which is a voluntary network of faculty, staff and students who believe that every member of the university community should have an equal opportunity to grow and learn in a safe and open environment, are easily identifiable. Just look for the stickers posted on campus!

Is there a procedure for reporting LGBTQIQA-related bias incidents and hate crimes? How does the school respond to such incidents? What should I do if I am being harassed for being LGBTQIQ or Ally?

Please refer to the official JMU Sexual Harassment and Sexual Misconduct policy and reporting procedure for more information and guidance.


Understanding Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation

How are sexual orientation and gender identity determined?

"No one knows exactly how sexual orientation and gender identity [are] determined. However, experts agree that it is a complicated matter of genetics, biology, psychological and social factors. For most people, sexual orientation and gender identity are shaped at any early age. While research has not determined a cause, homosexuality and gender variance are not the result of any one factor like parenting or past experiences. It is never anyone's 'fault' if they or their loved one grows up to be LGBT (PFLAG, 2013)." For more information and other great resources, visit the JMU Safe Zone.

How does someone know they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender?

"Some people say that they have 'felt different' or knew they were attracted to people of the same sex from the time they were very young. Some transgender people talk about feeling from an early age that their gender identity did not match parental and social expectations. Others do not figure out their sexual orientation or gender identity until they are adolescents or adults. Often it can take a while for people to put a label to their feelings, or people's feelings may change over time. Understanding our sexuality and gender can be a lifelong process, and people shouldn't worry about labeling themselves right away. However, with positive images of LGBT people more readily available, it is becoming easier for people to identify their feelings and come out at earlier ages. People don't have to be sexually active to know their sexual orientation – feelings and emotions are as much a part of one's identity. The short answer is that you'll know when you know (PFLAG, 2013)."

Should I talk to a loved one about his or her sexual orientation or gender identity before the person talks to me?

"It's seldom appropriate to ask a person, 'Are you gay?' Your perception of another person's sexual orientation (gay or straight) or gender identity (male or female) is not necessarily what it appears. No one can know for sure unless the person has actually declared that they are gay, straight, bisexual, or transgender. PFLAG recommends creating a safe space by showing your support of LGBT issues on a non-personal level. For example, take an interest in openly discussing and learning about topics such as same-sex marriage or LGBT rights in the workplace. Learn about LGBT communities and culture. Come out as an ally, regardless of if your friend or loved one is LGBT. Your ultimate goal is to provide a safe space for your loved one to approach you when he or she is ready without fear of negative consequences (PFLAG, 2013)."

How do I come out to my family and friends?

"There are many questions to consider before coming out. Are you comfortable with your sexuality and gender identity/expression? Do you have support? Can you be patient? What kind of views do your friends and family have about homosexuality and gender variance? Are you financially dependent on your family? Make sure you have thought your decision through, have a plan and supportive people you can turn to. Just as you needed to experience different stages of acceptance for yourself, family and loved ones will need to go through a similar process.

PFLAG was founded because of the unconditional love of parents for their gay children. Your loved ones will need time to adjust to your news, the same way you may have needed time to come to terms with yourself. However, true acceptance is possible and happens every day, especially with education and support. Today's youth face more social pressures than ever, especially since young people are coming out at increasingly younger ages. That's why PFLAG created Be Yourself: Questions and Answers for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning Youth a coming-out guide which provides a supportive approach to common questions asked by teens who may be questioning their sexual orientation. It also provides hotline numbers for teens and a list of resources. Also consider talking to someone from your local PFLAG chapter for more personalized tips and support (PFLAG, 2013)."

On-Campus Resources

SOGIE: strengthens, maintains, and promotes a campus community that welcomes all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, through education, support, advocacy, and fostering equity. Drop by SSC 1310 to connect with SOGIE staff.

SOGIE Advisory Board: The SOGIE Advisory Board, wich convenes monthly during the academic year, is a network of faculty and staff who focus on supporting JMU's commitment to diversity by serving as advocates and liaisons to SOGIE and the JMU community.

Madison Equality: JMU's oldest student-led LGBTQ+ organization. The primary mission of the club is to foster a supportive educational and social environment that promotes tolerance and acceptance through education and awareness. Madison Equality is open to anyone who is supportive of equality and queer rights, regardless of their orientation. If you are interested, email Or to learn more, students can log into JMU's Be Involved website. 

Shades of Pride: a JMU LGBTQ+ student organization with a focus on black and brown queer comminities and allies. The organization is open to everyone.If you are interested, DM (@sopjmu) on Instagram.

Counseling Center: provides a Queer to Questioning Group, a TrueSelves Group, as well an individual psychotherapy. If you are interested in pursuing these opportunities, please call (540) 568-6552, or explore the rest of this site for information not contained on this page.

Safe Zone: Safe Zone is a voluntary network of faculty, staff and students who believe that every member of the university community should have an equal opportunity to grow and learn in a safe and open environment.

LGBTQIQA Advisory Board: The LGBTQIQA Advisory Board, which convenes monthly during the academic year, is a network of students, faculty, and staff who focus on supporting JMU's commitment to support students by serving as advocates and liaisons to the LGBT Program and the JMU community.

Faculty and Staff Group: If you are interested in joining the LGBTQIQ group visit:

Off-Campus Resources

Shenandoah Valley Gay and Lesbian Association: The SVGLA's purpose is to create a safe, affirming, and fun environment where members are empowered to reach their full human potential.

PFLAG Blue Ridge: Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays has a local chapter serving Charlottesville and the surrounding area. Email them at

National Coalition for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health: The National Coalition for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health is committed to improving the health and well-being of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals and communities.

Resources for Parents, Friends, and Loved Ones

PFLAG Blue Ridge: PFLAG Blue Ridge offers free, monthly community groups for anyone who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning, as well as parents, family, friends, and allies. Interested? Email PFLAG Blue Ridge at

PFLAG Bisexuality 101 Resource packet: Contains lots of useful information regarding bisexuality, including FAQs, health information specific to the bisexual community, and additional resources.

PFLAG Publication: Provides answers to questions commonly asked by parents of gay, lesbian, and bisexual individuals.

Children of Lesbians and Gays Everywhere: National and international organization specifically supporting young people with gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender parents.


This JMU webpage contains links to other websites not owned or controlled by JMU. These external links are provided as a convenience to individuals who may be interested in this topic. External web addresses contain information created, published, maintained or otherwise posted by institutions or organizations independent of JMU. JMU does not endorse, approve, certify or control  external websites and does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, efficacy, timeliness or correct sequencing of information located at such addresses.

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