Education abroad can be a great opportunity for self-exploration and individual growth, and sexual orientation and gender identity can be fluid concepts. Should you identify yourself as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or intersex, it is very important to research your host country’s attitudes, laws and related crime rates prior to your departure.
Some of the questions you should be able to answer are:
- What are the current and past laws in the host country? These include hate crime laws, laws of consent (can be different between hetero couples vs. same-sex couples), etc.
- What is the cultural attitude surrounding the community with whom I identify?
- Are there open communities in the country? Or at the local university?
- What are the inter-gender communications?
Additional questions can be found at diversityabroad.com.
Many students struggle with the concept of being “out” while abroad while being true to their own identity. It is important to remember to put your safety first while at the same time respecting who you are. Here are some resources and tips to help you through this process:
- Talk to your education abroad coordinator about his or her knowledge of the country and past participant information.
- Research the relevant laws in the countries to which you’re traveling:
– Interactive International legislation map through the International, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.
– International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission
- Discuss your feelings and concerns with your resident director or in-country contact person.
- Visit the Office of Student Life Multicultural Center for resources and information, located in Suite 1000 of the Ohio Union.
- Ohio State University Registrar – Sexual orientation and gender identity: disclosing your personal information
- Planetout.com (LGBT travel resources)
- The Point Foundation (scholarships for LGBTQ students of merit)
- IGLA Europe
- Utopia Asia
- Out Traveler
- NAFSA Rainbow SIG
- TSA (practical travel tips for transgender people)
- Pink Pangea
- Diversity Abroad (a general guide for women travelers)
- LGBT Rights by Country or Territory
- "9 Major Life Lessons I learned Studying Abroad as an LGBT"
- "16 Famous LGBT Folks Who Studied Abroad"
- "Out and Abroad: LGBT Study Abroad"
- "Why aren't more men studying abroad?"