Traveling with a LGBTQIAP+ identity can pose unique opportunities and challenges. We want students to be their authentic selves while studying abroad, but we also want to be up front about the potential safety risks for individuals within the LGBTQIAP+ community. It is important for you to know that being “out” while traveling or studying off campus can impact your experiences and interactions with the host community. While many locations are very open and accepting, some countries may be openly hostile or have laws against “homosexuality” or other sexual or gender identities. Depending on where you go, public displays of affection or sharing who your partner is could pose safety and/or legal risks. It is important that you speak with IOS, the Gender and Sexuality Center, or the program on-site director about whether or not you should disclose your sexual or gender identity to locals, your host family, etc.
Oles Go! My Identity Abroad Story:
“I had the opportunity to do a gender studies course during my semester at DIS Stockholm, which was very important to me as a queer woman. We learned about gender roles in a Scandinavian context and some of the current issues going on regarding women’s rights in Sweden. But my favorite part was our week-long study tour to Berlin. We took a walking tour around the city that was specifically about LGBTQ history of Berlin, attended a traditional-style drag performance, and visited the Museum of Gay History. Most of my classmates were LGBTQ and we went to gay bars together every night. It was so great to relax with people like me and learn about a specific culture with a long history of acceptance, persecution, and celebration.”
– Anonymous ’18, DIS Stockholm
General LGBTQ+ Study Abroad Resources:
10 Reasons Why LGBTQ Students Should Study Abroad (Carleton College)
Advocate – Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer News & Politics
Diversity Abroad – LGBTQ+ Students Abroad
Diversity Abroad – A Roadmap for the Queer Study Abroad Experience
Global Gayz – a travel and culture website focused on LGBT-Gay life worldwide
LGBTQ+ & Ally Resources from IES Abroad
NAFSA – Rainbow Special Interest Group – Study Abroad Students
NPR Article: Know an LGBTQ Student Itching to Study Abroad? Here Are Some Things to Think About
Scholarship Opportunity – FEA Rainbow Scholarship
StudyAbroad.com – LGBT Students & Study Abroad
The U.S. State Department – LGBTI Travel Information
Gender Identity Resources:
National Center for Transgender Equality – Know Your Rights – Airport Security
Transportation Security Administration (TSA) – Transgender Passengers Information
Additional Considerations: e a large population of LGBTQIAP+ identified individuals in the host community? How visible are they?
– Do your research! Are LGBTQIAP+ identities or discussions around sexual/gender identity taboo in the host community?
– If you experience cat-calling, harassment, sexual misconduct/assault, abuse, or other forms of gender-based discrimination or crimes, how do you report them locally and back to campus, if you want to report them? Remember that crime definitions and reporting processes can vary by country. Be aware of what options you may have in your host country.