The Williams Institute, a think tank based at the UCLA School of Law, recently unveiled data regarding LGBTQ+ students and their experiences at four-year colleges.

One interesting finding from the study was that LGBTQ+ students were four times more likely to relocate for college than straight students. Rather than being for program-related purposes, these moves were made so the students could leave unwelcoming home environments and judgmental family members.

Chris DeSett, 28, is one such person who used his college years as an opportunity to move to a more LGBTQ-friendly area.

Shortly before starting his first year at American University back in 2012, DeSett made the game-changing move from Kansas City, Missouri, to Washington, D.C. Ultimately, this allowed him to discover who he truly is outside of the Midwest and away from his family.

“We’re all rushing down to this meeting area, and we’re talking and we’re playing ‘Never Have I Ever’ and stuff like that,” he recalled of his first night in the American University dorms. “It felt very welcoming and felt very affirming, and I kind of dipped my toe in the water and just said, ‘Oh, I think I might be bisexual.’ I didn’t feel that way, but I was just testing the waters for a reaction. And everyone’s like, ‘Oh, my God, that’s so great.'”

DeSett came out as gay later that year, and he acknowledged the significance that others’ support had on him.

“The reason why that’s so important to me was I wasn’t met with rejection. That affirming environment did give me the confidence to really explore my identity and then land on the conclusion that, ‘No, I am a gay man, and I’m confident that I know that for a fact. I know that I’ll be loved for who I am,'” he said.

“I wanted an experience where I had room to grow and be myself without having to worry about someone calling my parents,” DeSett added.

Aside from the relocation data, the study also discovered that queer students were more likely to experience bullying, poor mental health and harassment than non-LGBTQ+ peers.

It was uncovered that one-third of LGBTQ+ people reported that their “mental health was not good all or most of the time they were in college.”