The ASU Study Abroad Office respects the sexual and gender identity and expression of all people. While all study abroad participants need to plan their experience in advance, as an LGBTQIA student you may wish to consider some additional issues before and during your study abroad experience.
- RESEARCH the LGBTQIA climate of your host country. Explore different resources such as newspapers, LGBTQIA-friendly travel guides, and e-magazines to gain a better understanding of what the social perception is of members of the LGBTQIA community.
- TALK with other LGBTQIA and allied people about their experiences in specific countries or regions.
- UNDERSTAND the context, customs, laws and attitudes in your host country. Similar expressions or behaviors may have vastly different meanings in different places. In some locations open expressions of your sexual orientation might be criticized.
Keep in mind that once outside the United States you are no longer protected by U.S. laws. If same-sex acts are illegal in your host country and you are caught engaging in them, or presumed to have engaged in them, you could be arrested and imprisoned in that country.
It is important to reflect on the culturally based ideas and definitions of sexual identity and consider carefully how your identity as a LGBTQIA person may affect your relationships with host country nationals, your cultural adjustment, and your overall study abroad experience.
Questions you may want to consider, research, and ask about
- Does your right to be LGBTQIA in the United States conflict with your host country’s religious or cultural values and traditions?
- What are gender relations in the host country?
- What roles do transsexual people play in the host culture?
- Are there safety considerations I should be aware of?
Tips to keep in mind
- If you experience difficulties, don’t be afraid to contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. They are available 24/7 at every embassy who provide emergency assistance to Americans. They won’t pass judgment on you and will protect your privacy.
- Be alert and try to avoid potentially unsafe environments. The general openness of LGBT settings can sometimes be taken advantage of by criminals. Look out for yourself and your friends, especially late at night.
- Use discretion. As an American, you may already stand out. Outside gay neighborhoods or resorts, public displays of affection may draw even more attention.
Resources for more information
- ASU LGBTQIA Health Information
- ASU Study Abroad Blog posts
- Diversity Abroad - Guide for LGBTQ+ students abroad
- Fund for Education Abroad - information about the Rainbow Scholarship (for LGBTQIA study abroad students)
- International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association - country-specific information related to legal rights and social climate
- LGBT Travel Information - information provided by the U.S. State Department
- LGBT Rights Around the World - an interative map from TheGuardian.com of the legal rights of people in the LGBTQIA community
- National Center for Transgender Equality - resources on how to update IDs (including passports) and rights at airport security
- Out @ ASU - Promoting an inclusive and affirming academic and campus environment for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, questioning students and their allies.
- Scholarships for LGBTQIA Students - a list of study abroad scholarship opportunities specifically for members of the LGBTQIA community
- U.S. Embassy Information - find contact information for the local U.S. Embassy or Consulate in your host country (be sure to save this resource in your phone!)