Gender and Sexuality Expression

LGBTQ+ expression around the world varies greatly by country and culture. Most western and industrialized countries have passed progressive legislation in legalizing same sex marriage and protecting the rights of their LGBTQ+ communities. In fact, many countries made legislative changes before the United States did! This does not mean that expression is safe everywhere. Many countries in the Middle East and Africa have made same sex intimacy and marriage illegal. In fact, it is important to be aware of how predetermined travel destinations respond to LGBTQ+ rights. For example, authorities in Egypt will often create false accounts on Grindr in order to lure in users and arrest them. In countries where LGBT actions are legalized, it is also important to research their social beliefs. If progressive legislation is fairly new, the social belief system may still remain conservative. It is important to acknowledge how an individual's sexuality and gender identity can function within the foreign society and how the individual wishes to express this aspect of their identity. 

Questions to consider and research:

  • What is the attitude toward the LGBTQ+ community?
  • What laws govern this community?
  • What are the norms and expectations within the LGBTQ+ community in my host country?
  • What local resources are available?
  • Are there any LGBTQ+ friendly establishments nearby?
  • How do I want to express my identities while I am abroad?
  • How open do I want to be with my peers/host family/professors/advisors/local friends/ others?
  • How can I healthily express myself while following cultural morals?

Resources for LGBTQIA+ Students

  • US Department of State - For LGBT Students
    • Country-specific information
    • Caution in regards to targeting/discrimination
  • Equaldex
    • Updated country by country information on:
      • Legality of same-sex activity
      • Recent changes in legislation
      • Legality and rights in regards to changing sex or gender
      • Prominence and legality of discrimination (General, housing, employment)
      • Age of consent for different sexual activities
      • Legality and prevalence of conversion therapy 
  • Rainbow Special Interest Group
    • Guide to Study Abroad
    • Scholarships
    • Travel Information 

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