Sexual Orientation

Sexual orientation along with gender identity are complex issues that relate to gender roles and identity, intimacy, relationships, and much more. Since perspectives regarding these identities are often culturally influenced, it is important to familiarize yourself with your host location’s laws, attitudes, and customs as they pertain to your identity. In fact, these terms become even more complex in the context of a global education.
 
Students identifying with any sexual orientation should research their destination prior to their departure. Attitudes, tolerance, support, and laws regarding sexual orientation, same-sex sexual contact, and gender expression vary widely around the world. There are also wide ranges when it comes to human rights and anti-discrimination laws. Talk with your Study Abroad Advisor or Program Manager and consider how the location, curriculum, and culture align with your interests, lifestyle, and academic and professional goals.

Here are some questions to ask yourself before you go:

  • What is the social perception of LGBTQIAA+ individuals in my host country?
  • What is the attitude of law enforcement toward LGBTQIAA+ people?
  • How open will I be about my sexual orientation and gender identity with my host family, professors, peers, and new friends?
  • Are there LGBTQIAA+ friendly establishments in my host city? How can I find them?
  • How will I make connections with other LGBTQIAA+ students, locals, and/or community organizations?

Resources