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LGBTQIA

Connect with LGBTQIA GLO Ambassadors

Connect with GLO Ambassadors who identify as LGBTQIA to learn more about daily life abroad, LGBTQIA-specific considerations, and their experiences in-country. Filter by Specialty > LGBTQ identity.

You may already identify as a lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, or queer student, or you may still be exploring your identity. In either case, you will find that the social climate, laws, and personal interactions of other cultures will often differ from the U.S. While researching study abroad programs and preparing for departure, it is important to reflect on the culturally based ideas and definitions of gender and sexual identity. Consider carefully how your identity as a LGBTQIA person may influence your relationships with host nationals, your cultural adjustment, and your overall education abroad experience.

Learn About Your Destination

In some cultures, understandings of "gay" and "straight" don't exist or don't carry the same importance as they do in the U.S. People involved in same-sex relationships may not see this as an identity. In other cultures, there are active social movements for civil rights for sexual and gender minorities. In preparing for your study abroad experience, it is important for you to research the LGBTQIA climate of the country you will be visiting.

Learn About Your Destination

LGBTQIA Considerations Abroad

If you are open about your gender and/or sexual identity, consider the following as you research potential study abroad countries:

  • The culture of a country might make you feel like you are either "sent back into the closet" or, in countries that are more progressive than the U.S., freer to express yourself.
  • If your host country is not progressive or accepting of the LGBTQIA community, make sure you understand the political climate and consider your personal safety before confronting this way of thinking.

If you are not open about your gender and/or sexual identity, along with the above, consider the following:

  • Some countries will make it easier for you to come out; make sure that you have a support network during this time.
  • If you are not public about your identity, realize that finding that community will be a bit more difficult while abroad. Finding groups or organizations before you go is essential. Check out the links in the campus and international resources sections.

Legal Considerations Abroad

The laws governing LGBTQIA relationships and sexual activity differ from country to country. Regardless of your country of citizenship, you must abide by the laws of the host country. Knowing these laws can help you decide which countries you will visit or if you will pursue relationships while abroad. Even if you do not plan to have a sexual relationship while away, you should be informed about local laws pertaining to sexual behavior and sexual/gender identity. You should research:

  • The legality of same-sex sexual behavior (sometimes male-male sexual behavior is illegal while female-female sexual behavior is not), including sodomy laws
  • The age of consent for same-sex sexual behavior (which may differ from the age of consent for opposite-sex sexual behavior)
  • Restrictions on freedom of association or expression for LGBTQIA people
  • Anti-discrimination laws (these can be national laws or specific to local areas)

You may find that you can be more open about your identity than in the U.S., or that you would need to hide your sexual or gender identity completely to avoid cultural ostracism or arrest. Understanding this will help you decide where you would, or would not, want to study.

For information on laws in countries you may be visiting, please review .

CAMPUS RESOURCES

  • Gender and Sexuality Resource Center: The Gender and Sexuality Resource Center works to provide a safe and affirming space for all members of the Northwestern University campus and acts as a hub for organizations, resources, services, and programs of interest to the Queer, Trans*, and Ally community.
  • : Rainbow Alliance provides a safe space for students of all genders and sexualities by supporting an active and social LGBTQIA community.
  • : This longstanding fraternity/sorority organization promotes educational programming and diversity with regard to to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning students and their allies.

INTERNATIONAL RESOURCES

  • :  Tips to help research your host country.
  • : Country-specific information about legal rights and social climate.
  • : A global movement that campaigns to end human rights abuses.
  • : Travel journals from LGBT persons all over the world.
  • : Advances the human rights of all people subject to discrimination based on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, or HIV status.
  • : Offers counseling for international and study abroad students who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.