Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Abroad

Sexual and gender identities may be defined and perceived differently abroad from how they are in your community at home. Although many countries are open to LGBTQIA+ individuals, some are less accepting. Before you select a study abroad program, reflect on how your host country understands gender, gender identity, and sexual orientation. Research the attitudes toward sexual orientation and gender-nonconformity, which can vary within regions and among different social contexts. Make sure you speak with your Education Abroad Advisor about the acceptance of the LGBTQIA+ community in your host country, as well as any laws in place regarding sexual orientation. We encourage all students to explore the following links and resources in order to learn more about what you can do to feel safe and comfortable expressing yourself in the host-community. 

Think About:

• Will local values and/or country laws affect my decision to study in a particular country, where certain relationships are criminalized?
• Does my LGBTQIA+ identity conflict with my host-community's religious or cultural values or traditions?
• How safe is it for me to be open about my LGBTQIA+ identity in the host-community? Are there laws in place making it unsafe to be open about my sexual identity?  

 Before You Go:

• Research the laws, regulations and rights LGBTQIA+ individuals have in the host country.
• Connect with previous LGBTQIA+ UMass students who have studied abroad to talk about how they navigated/experienced sexual identity in their host country. Talk with Cris Sosa in Education Abroad to find these contacts.
• Utilize the resources provided below and speak with your Education Abroad advisor for additional information and support.  

UMass Amherst Campus Resources

The Stonewall Center: the bisexual, gay, lesbian, queer, and transgender resource center at UMass Amherst

UMass LGBTQIA People and Allies

Useful Sites to Begin Your Exploration 

TSA Information for Transgender Passengers

National Center for Transgender Equality: Know Your Rights about Airport Security

LGBT Student Guide for Education Abroad

Unpacked: A Study Abroad Guide for Students Like Me: For inclusive student blogs and stories 

GlobalGayz: A travel and culture website focused on LGBT-Gay life worldwide. 

NAFSA Rainbow Special Interest Group: support group with information for gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender students interested in studying abroad 

2019 Periodic Risk Intelligence and Security Monitor: LGBT Abroad

ILGA - International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association: a worldwide federation of national and local groups dedicated to achieving equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people everywhere; offers a country-by-country world survey of the legal position of LGBT people 

International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) Information by Country: a leading international organization dedicated to human rights advocacy on behalf of people who experience discrimination or abuse on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, pages provide country specific information