LGBTQ+ Students Abroad

Just as in the US, attitudes towards and understanding of the LGBTQ+ community and issues vary around the world. Most LGBTQ+ travelers can travel just as easily but there are countries which are not as open to the LGBTQ+ community as the US. In some countries, LGBTQ+ individuals are protected and have equal rights in their society. In other places, openly identifying as LGBTQ+ is punishable by law, or there may be no laws to protect an individual from gender- or sexuality-based discrimination or hate crimes. You may find that in another country you can be more open about your identity than in the US, or that you need to keep your sexual or gender identity to yourself to avoid cultural or legal problems. US citizens are subject to the laws of their host country and may not have the same protections available in the US, so it is important to know the laws and conditions of your destination before you go.

Understanding this will help you make an informed choice about your study abroad destination. Students who identify as non-cis should research their destination and talk with the Global Engagement Office and the Center for Trans and Queer Advocacy about the cultural norms and LGBTQ+ rights and issues in their location. The resources below are intended to help navigate places outside the US.

Questions to Consider

  • What are the laws regarding sexual orientation/gender identity in my proposed host country? How can I navigate these laws? Should I consider this country for study abroad?
  • What are the laws and cultural norms related to friendship, dating, and sexual behavior in my destination country?
  • What kinds of LGBTQ+ resources are there in my host country?
  • Is there a united, visible LGBTQ+ community in my host country/city? What are some ways members of these diverse communities representing themselves within the wider society?

Online Resources

Laws, TSA, and U.S. State Department Information

General International Organizations

  • ILGA - The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association has information on over 110 countries and offers a country-by-country survey of the legal position of GLBTQ individuals.
  • IGLHRC - The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission is an NGO dedicated to human rights advocacy group.

Scholarships for LGBTQ+

  • The Pride Foundation - A foundation that inspires a culture of generosity, connecting Northwest organizations, leaders, and students who are creating LGBTQIA+ equality. They facilitate post-secondary educational scholarships.
  • Human Rights Campaign - The HRC advocates on behalf of LGBTQIA+ Americans, mobilizes grassroots actions in diverse communities, invests strategically to elect fair-minded individuals to office and educates the public about LGBTQIA+ issues. They also have student scholarships.
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