While LGBTQ+ life exists everywhere, the degree to which it is visible and to which it is supported varies. As you get to know your host culture and environment, you may find a variety of affirming individuals, organizations, and establishments. However, every place in the world has different laws, policies, and cultural attitudes regarding people who identify as or are perceived to be LGBTQ+. It is important to take all of this into account to facilitate a positive and meaningful experience abroad.
Throughout the study abroad process, it is encouraged that you to consider the cultural and environmental aspects of your potential host country that may impact how you express your sexual orientation and gender identity abroad.
Questions to Consider, Tips, & Resources
- How open do I want to be abroad about my sexual orientation and gender identity?
- What do I need to feel safe abroad, and is there a program that offers this kind of support?
- How might my experience abroad as LGBTQ+ differ from my experience in the United States?
- What does being “out” mean in my intended host country? What terminology is utilized in the host language to refer to LGBTQ+ people?
- What does the LGBTQ+ population look like in my host country? How visible and large is it? How do they dress, behave, etc.?
- What are the cultural attitudes, beliefs, and norms of the host culture regarding sexual orientation and gender identity? Am I comfortable navigating them while abroad?
- What are the laws and policies regarding LGBTQ+ people in your host country?
- What resources are available to LGBTQ+ people in your program or in your host country?
- Explore LGBTQ+ travel guides and online resources (see below).
- Discuss your questions or concerns with a study abroad staff member or the LGBT Resource Center.
- Talk with other LGBTQ+ students and allied peers about their experiences abroad.
- Connect with LGBTQ+ individuals living in your host community.
- Research LGBTQ+ advocacy organizations and establishments in your host community.
- Follow LGBTQ+ publications, news channels, and social media from your host country.
- Fund for Education Abroad Rainbow Scholarship
- International LGBTIA Association
- LGBT Resource Center
- LGBT Rights from Human Rights Watch
- "LGBT Student Guide to Studying Abroad" by GoAbroad.com
- "LGBTI Travelers" from U.S. State Department
- National Center for Transgender Equality
- Outright International
- Transgender Europe