In an age when colleges live and die by their rankings, a new focus for campus assessment is emerging: gay-friendliness.
The Advocate, the national newsmagazine for gays and lesbians, published a 389-page book this month listing the 100 schools that it says offer the best discrimination protection, most friendly climate, and most extensive campus services for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered students. Sixteen of the schools are in New England, including six in Massachusetts.
The book arrives as surveys show that more gay and lesbian students are coming out at younger ages, often in high school, placing the climate of a college campus at the forefront of more students' minds as they select schools.
``A lot of high school kids have already dealt with the issue of coming out by the time they get to college," said Bruce Steele, the editor of the Advocate, whose sister company, Alyson Books, published the guide. Steele said the book's aim is to help those students and their parents make an informed college choice.
The book does not assign individual rankings, but identified a top 20, including Tufts University and the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.