LGBTQ+ Student Page
To provide support and ensure that all students have a safe Study Abroad experience, this page contains resources and advice about issues that pertain to members of the LGBTQ+ community who wish to pursue an international education. It is highly recommended you do additional research that is specific to your country. Things to look out for include laws pertaining to sexuality and gender identity/expression. Additionally, look for restrictions on freedom of expression and cultural climate, as these will inform and be informed by perspectives on gender and sexuality.
Diversity information by country is available on the IES Abroad Diversity Resources page.
Discrimination and LGBTQ+ Identity Abroad
Students identifying as LGBTQ+ should be prepared to encounter new and different attitudes concerning sexual orientations and identities. The atmosphere surrounding gender and sexuality in each country or region is determined by numerous cultural, religious and political factors. The best way to avoid problems that cause discomfort or danger is to become familiar with the prevailing attitudes before departing for study abroad.
Traveling as a queer student may pose some challenges. In order to make your journey as safe and enjoyable as possible, it is important to be cautious in some parts of the world. Such areas include Poland, Mauritius, the Middle East (excepting Turkey), Trinidad, Jamaica, Indonesia, Malaysia and Chechnya, as well as some African countries. These countries have anti-homosexuality laws that reflect cultural attitudes which may pose a threat to your safety while traveling through or visiting.
Transgender students traveling abroad will have to make special considerations concerning travel documents and airport security. Although it is unfortunate that you are singled out due to your identity, preparing with the TSA's guidelines in mind will help you to save time and avoid harassment.
Blogs & Articles
- Neal McKinney, the Assistant Director of Off-Campus Study at DePauw University, studied abroad in Barcelona. In his blog post he shares not only about his experience but advice to students studying abroad.
- While same-sex relationships are illegal in Morocco, a student who self-identifies as an Asian queer man, shares his experiences in his blog. He talks about the languages he learned, his life with a host family, the friends he made, and even about his dating life.
- Finding friendly medical care away from home can be challenging. However, being provided medical attention should not be avoided if needed. Writer, Jess McHugh, shares some ways you can consider finding medical attention that is safe and comfortable to you.
- Jim, Lisa, Patrick, and Manuel all identify themselves within the LGBQ+ community and have sat down to talk about how they chose where to go abroad and then the experiences they had in that country.
Some Tips for Getting Through Security:
- Update your passport and other forms of identification to reflect your expressed identity and current legal name if possible. All of your documents should match the name used to make the flight reservations in order to streamline the security process.
- Refrain from wearing prosthetics or binding materials with metal components when possible in order to avoid extra searches.
- Medication in your carry on, including syringes and injectable hormones, should be stored in a small bag or pouch along with your prescriptions. This pouch should be given to TSA agents for inspection during security check-in.
- Become familiar with TSAs policies and considerations concerning Transgender travellers.
- While you are abroad, it is likely that you will encounter a wide range of opinions and reactions, just like you would at home. There are resources available to help ease the transition into an unfamiliar place. This Brown University booklet features students who have studied abroad and their experiences with diversity issues in various countries.
- You can also visit the Department of State's LGBT Travel Information page, which addresses some common concerns about preparing to go abroad.
Students of all backgrounds and ethnicities cite money as an impediment to studying abroad. Geneseo works to help make traveling abroad an affordable and accessible opportunity for all students through numerous scholarships as well as financial advisement. You can check out our extensive list of scholarships on our Scholarship Page.
For more information you can visit these sites:
- National Center for Transgender Equality
- List of LGBTQ organizations around the world
- List of LGBT Rights by country or territory
- International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission
- International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association
- Council of Europe Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Unit
- LGBT Student Guide for Education Abroad- USF
- Suggestions for LGBTQ Students Going Abroad
- US Department of State, LGBTI Travel Information