At CISaustralia, we love having students from all walks of life participate in our programs. No matter your gender identity, sexual orientation, race, or religion, you are welcome to take part in any one of our programs. That being said, studying abroad as an LGBTQIA+ student comes with its own challenges and things to consider. While travelling abroad pushes you out of your comfort zone, having all of our students feel safe at all times is our top priority, and we do our best to ensure that happens.
When planning your travels, you may want to consider or ask yourself the following:
What is the law?
- Do some research so you can make informed decisions
- While some local laws do not consider or mention trans or intersex people, relationships may be caught by law regarding same-sex relationships
Some countries may be inconsistent
- Same-sex relationships may only be legal in certain regions of some countries
- Same-sex relationships may not be expressly prohibited, but they can still be considered socially unacceptable or taboo
- Female same-sex relationships may be silently accepted, while male same-sex relationships are not
Consider your safety and your friends’ safety first before anything else
- There are benefits to being discreet, particularly in areas you know to be more conservative
Is the country/are the countries you are going to LGBTQIA+ friendly?
- What are the social attitudes towards being LGBTI?
- Are there any established LGBTQIA+ groups or establishments?
- Are gender identity and sexual orientation openly talked about and accepted?
- Are there any safety concerns or legal issues for individuals who identify as a part of the LGBTQIA+ community?
How “out” do you want to be to your fellow students, roommates and/or host family?
Resources for LGBTQIA+ Travellers
- Smartraveller: Advice for LGBTI Travellers
- International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association: Sexual Orientation Laws in the World Maps that outline laws in different countries
- Lonely Planet: LGBT Travellers webpages for countries, e.g. LGBT Travellers in Peru – Lonely Planet provides localised resources for locating and connecting with local LGBTI groups and companies/establishments! Simply run a search for your travel destination from the Lonely Planet website.
- The National Center for Transgender Equality: Air Travel and Airport Security Tips for Trans Individuals
- Go Abroad: LGBT Student Guide to Studying Abroad
- The Pie News: How can educators support LGBTQI+ international students?
- Qlife: Australia’s first nationally-oriented counselling and referral service
Note: We highly encourage students to take part in whichever program they choose! However, please keep in mind that some overseas destinations may not be as open and accommodating as your home country. When travelling abroad, sometimes it is best to be discreet and avoid public displays of affection. If you are ever unsure or don’t feel comfortable in any country or program, please use caution. At any time, the team at CISaustralia is here to answer your questions and provide support. Please Contact Us if you’d like to start a conversation.
The information provided above has been a collaborative approach by CIS staff in both Australia and the USA. We are fortunate enough to have Scott Tayloe on the team and be able to lend his advice and expertise. Scott Tayloe, (MBA) is the Vice-President of Custom Solutions (USA) and also the Co-Chair NAFSA Rainbow SIG.
If you have any questions or comments on how we could improve information provided above, please do connect CISaustralia. We would love to hear from you as always!