Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol 49, No. 1 - 99

Designing an LLC for LGBTQ+ Students
DISCUSSION AND IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE AND POLICY
The purpose of this study was to explore the possibility of designing an LLC for LGBTQ+
students by asking students what they'd want and/or need from such a space. During
discussions in focus groups, students shared important considerations to address
when identifying suitable locations. Each consideration highlights many practical implications
for campus housing professionals.
Students felt that an LGBTQ+ LLC could be an inclusive and affirmative environment
in which they could develop a sense of belonging and create community with
other students. This finding aligns with prior scholarship indicating that LGBTQ+
students were more likely to experience community in spaces designed with them in
mind, such as LGBTQ+ campus centers (Pitcher et al., 2018; Self & Hudson, 2015).
Furthermore, intersecting identities and challenges related to those intersections must
be considered. Providing intersectional spaces and support within the LLC will not
only ensure that LGBTQ+ students with multiple marginalized and intersecting identities
can develop a sense of belonging and feel that all their identities are accepted
and valued in this space, but will also prevent the reproduction of issues that may be
present in other campus spaces.
Next, this study captured student perspectives about staffing and staff training
within an LGBTQ+ LLC and highlighted the importance of preparing staff to support
the unique needs of this student population. This finding both supports prior assertions
that LGBTQ+ students are underserved and under-supported by staff in residential
spaces (Denton & Cain, 2020; Kortegast, 2017; Pryor et al., 2016) and emphasizes
the significance of staff in supporting LGBTQ+ students in these spaces (Evans &
Broido, 2002; Mollet et al., 2021; Pryor & Hoffman, 2020). Staff must be prepared
to address how campus climate and personal issues may be affecting students' interactions
within and outside of the LLC. To build an inclusive and supportive LGBTQ+
LLC, staff must respond to students' unique needs and expectations and be equipped
to serve as mentors and allies for those whose experiences, perspectives, and issues
have historically been underrepresented and under-supported within our campuses
and within LGBTQ+ communities.
Additionally, this study highlights the importance of providing various forms of
programming for an LGBTQ+ LLC. Housing staff should provide spaces for community
building and various cocurricular options for students. For example, students discussed
collaborations with other identity-based centers and programs to address and
support students' intersecting identities and to allow them to engage in critical discussion
and programming about intersectionality and how students experience college.
The programming recommendations and implications presented in this consideration
also map onto Inkelas and colleagues'(2018) model of building LLCs, in which " formal,
out-of-class activities . . . supplement and fortify the academic goals of the LLC " (p. 21).
Engaging in these cocurricular activities will provide students with access to learning
opportunities that complement the interactions they have within the LLC and the content
they are learning in their courses.
96 The Journal of College and University Student Housing

Journal of College & University Student Housing Vol 49, No. 1

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