Sexual orientation and gender identity: Disclosing your personal information
Diversity is a strategic pillar for The Ohio State University. Diversity fosters intellectual and social growth, and encourages everyone in the community to engage in dialogue, challenge barriers and build collaborative relationships.
To further support our diversity efforts, Ohio State includes optional questions about sexual orientation and gender identity on admission applications, and also allows for optional self-selection by all enrolled students of their sexual orientation and gender identity in the Personal Information section of their Buckeye Link. Helping all students feel comfortable and succeed at Ohio State is very important to the university. By better understanding our LGBTQ population, we can reinforce the commitment to including all in the intellectual vitality of our campus community and the overall student experience.
Note: Information about individuals who identify as LGBTQ is protected by FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act).
To update your personal information:
- Log in your Buckeye Link via buckeyelink.osu.edu.
- In the Personal Information section, click on the User Preferences link.
- Select the Personal Information tab.
- Scroll to “sexual orientation” and click tab.
- Update selection and click “Submit”.
- Is Ohio State encouraging and/or endorsing an LGBTQ culture?
The university is dedicated to ensuring a welcoming and safe environment for all students. By including sexual orientation and gender identification questions in the admissions application, Ohio State is indicating an acceptance and understanding of the needs of these students from their very first interaction with the university.
- How will identifying an applicant’s sexual orientation and gender identity affect his or her opportunities for admission?
Choosing to answer or ignore these optional identification questions does not impact admissions decisions. This information is gathered strictly for the purpose of understanding the scope of this population, and to share university resources with those groups.
- Who will be able to access this data?
An individual’s data is protected by FERPA (Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act). Similar to disability data, this information is considered restricted within university systems. Data is only available to an extremely limited number of staff. All others seeking aggregate data must submit a request for this information, including a specific need, to be either approved or denied by the gatekeeping offices (University Registrar and the Multicultural Center).
Students should note, however, that parents or guardians may access this information if they have the log in credentials to review a student’s Common Application or Buckeye Link.
- How will this data be used?
By collecting aggregate data on our applicants’ sexual orientation and gender identity, Ohio State will be able to analyze the success of the university’s efforts related to the recruitment, enrollment, retention and academic success of the LGBTQ demographic. This, in turn, will help us better understand the needs of this population and to provide the data needed to inform the creation or expansion of beneficial resources and services for this demographic.
- What if these questions deter students from applying or cause others anxiety and stress?
Previous application questions directed toward race/ethnicity have not deterred students from applying. These questions are optional, which allows students to answer only if they are comfortable sharing this information. Students who choose not to disclose sexual orientation and gender identity will not be penalized in any way.
- What if students change their sexual orientation and/or gender identity after applying?
Students may go to their online Buckeye Link to adjust this information during their time as an Ohio State student. The university recognizes that students continually experience growth in their identity.
LGBTQ Resource Guide – This resource guide was created by the Office of Student Life and the Multicultural Center as part of The Ohio State University LGBTQ Education Project. The guide provides context surrounding homophobia and transgender issues, information about campus and community LGBTQ resources, and commonly asked questions related to LGBTQ issues. Created to help students better understand LGBTQ realities, the guide is an in-depth approach to increase awareness.
Student Life Multicultural Center – The Multicultural Center facilitates the inclusive shared learning experiences of students where all can engage in dialogue, challenge barriers and build collaborative relationships. Various groups, signature events and programming focus on intersections between identities, community building, along with professional and leadership development. Each is offered with an intended outcome of increasing awareness of identity and community through an understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Student organizations – More than a dozen student organizations at Ohio State advocate for LGBTQ rights and foster an environment of understanding and acceptance for all. These organizations host meetings, events and activities designed to engage the LGBTQ community and its allies. Most groups cater to LGBTQ students with specific interests or educational background. Examples include LGBT Athletes, OUTLaws, oSTEM and GradQueers.
Counseling and Consultation Service – The Office of Student Life offers Counseling and Consultation Service (CCS) for students in need of support. LGBTQ students have found CCS to be a safe environment committed to improving the experience of LGBTQ students through support, education and advocacy. Group counseling and workshops are also available. Specific counseling is offered for those students who decide to come out.
Scarlet & Gay – The Ohio State University GLBT Alumni Society, Scarlet & Gay, assists students in need with seven different scholarships. These scholarships are awarded to students who have made significant contributions to the LGBTQ community through leadership, service, volunteering or research. The alumni society also provides travel grants for students traveling to represent LGBTQ organizations, research or service.