While there are an array of factors all students must consider before choosing a study abroad program, understandably, LGBTQ+ students may have unique questions and concerns of their own. Education Abroad is here to help support you by providing important information to help you prepare before you leave on your program. We highly suggest students who identify as LGBTQ+ research their host country and talk with an Education Abroad staff member about the cultural norms and LGBTQ+ rights and issues of their location.
LGBTQ+ individuals have protected and equal rights in their society in some countries while in others, identifying openly as LGBTQ+ is punishable by law. Some countries may not even have laws to protect an individual from hate crimes. While UHCL affirms those who identify as LGBTQ+, the resources and tips here are intended to help you navigate spaces that are outside of our campus and the United States. American citizens are subject to the laws of their host country; therefore, it is extremely important to know the legal regulations and conditions before selecting your host country. Remember, U.S. laws do not protect Americans traveling overseas.
Questions you should ask yourself when selecting a country include:
- What is the country’s overall stance toward the LGBTQ+ community? i.e. Are there laws regarding LGBTQ+ identity in my host country? What kind of rights LGBT+ individuals have in this country? Should I consider this country for study abroad?
- How safe is it for me to be out in that country when I am abroad? Will I be comfortable? Will I be able to express myself?
- What LGBTQ+ resources are available in my host country? Will I have support from my host country?
- What are the cultural norms for dating and friendship in this country?
Always ensure to put your safety first and have a support system available while you are abroad. You can always reach out to staff at the Office of Student Diversity, Equity and Inclusion on campus, in addition to our office before departure to ensure you set yourself up with as much support as needed. If you experience any difficulties because of your sexual orientation or gender identity, contact your onsite program representative or faculty member immediately.
Additional LGBTQ+ Resources:
- The Office of Student Diversity, Equity and Inclusion is the hub for all LGBTQ+ student life at the University of Houston – Clear Lake
- List of scholarships for LGBTQ+ students wishing to study abroad.
- The NAFSA Association of International Educators Rainbow Special Interest Group provides LGTBQ related resources for students studying abroad.
- The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) is an excellent source to refer to when determining where you would like to study abroad. ILGA maintains maps and charts illustrating where LGBTQ+ criminalizing, protection and recognition laws exist around the world.
- The Department of State website has a section devoted to LGBTQ+ Travelers highlighting before-traveling considerations, tips, and providing additional resources.
- TSA Information for Transgender Passengers
- The National Center for Transgender Equality provides information and resources for transgender travelers.
- Diversity Abroad offers tips, student profiles, and information about diversity and inclusion overseas. See especially their page on sexual orientation abroad.
- GoAbroad.com has put together this LGBT Study Abroad Guide.