LGBTQ+ Student Advising Guide for Education Abroad Professionals

 

By NAFSA: Association of International Educators Diversity and Inclusion in Education Abroad Subcommittee, LGBTQ+ Working Group: Margaret McCullers, Matt Free, Darren Gallant, Conrad Zeutenhorst, Ashlee Finn and Aby Parsons 

This resource is designed to help Education Abroad professionals prepare students who identify as LGBTQ+ for their education abroad endeavor. Just as LGBTQ+ needs, challenges and resources are constantly evolving, this guide cannot be fully comprehensive. It does not go into depth on any one topic. It is meant to call attention to various considerations and references a wide range of online resources for further consideration. If you have suggestions for updates, please contact the chairs of the NAFSA Diversity and Inclusion in Education Abroad Subcommittee.

Terminology: Why We Picked LGBTQ+

We recognize that there is no perfect acronym to address the range of identities implied in the abridged LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, Queer, and identities commonly associated with this community). It is partly convenience and partly convention where we choose to cut off the acronym. At the risk of creating a dichotomy, we could frame these varied groups of people as non-heteronormative and/or non-cisgender; or, by another philosophy, we might say it is also valid to call this multiplicity simply by the term “Queer.” On the other hand, continuing to extend the acronym may overcomplicate our goal of inclusion and inevitably still leave someone out. 

Whatever nomenclature we adopt, we must stress the plurality of being inherent in the varied communities that make up our categorizations. Sometimes we’ll find references to the “LGBTQ+ community,” which leans on the idea that all of the identities contained within the extended acronym share a unified voice. As with any other diverse group of people, this is not the case. From a macro perspective, the politics, issues, and interests of trans students and lesbian students may differ, and from a micro perspective, two trans students may have wholly different views on what is important to the greater ‘trans community.’ 

Rather than retreating from the challenge posed by differing views however, what can bind those members of the LGBTQ+ acronym together is a common interest in advocacy for the rights of sexual and gender minorities. While it might seem like a cliché, part of promoting inclusive excellence is embracing difference. 

In the Resources section at the end of this document, there is a list of terminology guides that may be helpful in defining terms used throughout this document.

Advising Considerations

This section points to some of the advising considerations you may wish to explore as you strive to increase your efforts to support LGBTQ+ students. A special focus is given to showing and offering support and sensitive conversations, such as being out abroad, program selection, housing, medical needs, and considerations for trans students. 

It’s important to recognize that many students will have multiple identities that are interacting and intersecting as part of their daily life. While a LGBTQ+ identity might be the most salient for one student, race or ethnicity might be more salient for another student, or they might be of equal impact. When working with students it is important to let them lead the conversation around their identity so the advisor is not making assumptions about concerns or resource needs.

Show your Support

A number of strategies may be employed to demonstrate your commitment to supporting students who identify as LGBTQ+ in their pursuit of studying abroad. By being present and available, students may feel comfortable coming to you when they need support. When students do disclose their identity, it is important that you know your resources here and abroad in order to provide nuanced support, as appropriate. 

Build your knowledge of campus support structures by reaching out to campus LGBTQ+ groups. This will provide an opportunity for you to show your support to them, to learn from their expertise, and to potentially pull in students who may not have considered studying abroad before. True collaborations can ultimately inform the way you interact with and support students. 

A key to being present and available is being a visible ally on campus and in your community. By attending student events, campus programs, and community events, you allow yourself to be associated as an ally through your actions, not just intentions. You may never realize it, but you will likely be noticed by students. This may serve you well days or years after the event by sending the message to students from the LGBTQ+ community that study abroad is for them and that the international office welcomes them and is eager to support them. Attending programs sponsored by a campus LGBTQ+ group is a great start. Depending on your institution, you may find different or additional connections by attending local community LGBTQ+ events such as pride parades, movie screenings, advocacy events or similar opportunities.

Pronouns in Email Signature and in All Resources

Adding your chosen pronouns to your email signature is a simple but meaningful way to show your support. Students for whom chosen pronouns are important will be able to identify you as an ally and someone ‘in the know.’ Other materials containing contact info or biographical information about you should also include chosen pronouns where possible. MyPronouns.org is a great website to link to when including pronouns. Or see the University of Wisconsin-Madison LGBT Campus Center Gender Pronouns Guide for reference.

For Example:
Abigail Smith
Assistant Director of Education Abroad
X University
Personal pronouns: They, Them, Theirs

Safe Space Training

Safe Space training, also known as Safe Zone or Ally Trainings, can be an essential part of advisor training. Many campuses will run Safe Space programs through offices of diversity and inclusion, a gender or sexuality center, or the health center. If your campus does not run trainings, you can reach out to nearby institutions that do or check out online modules like this one run by Campus Pride. Ideally, this training will also cover heteronormative assumptions and typical microaggressions that can happen in the workplace. 

Some programs even offer a desk decoration at the completion of training that can signal to students your commitment to supporting them in studying abroad.

Sensitive Conversations

A common concern around advising any underrepresented group in study abroad is how to best broach sensitive topics. Just as we cannot assume a student’s race or ethnicity, we must not assume a student’s gender or sexuality. One effective tool for appropriately addressing identity-based concerns when advising students one-on-one is to offer the student an advising checklist covering a broad range of identities and other relevant needs. Students can select optional topics that are important for them to discuss. Once a student invites you to discuss a topic with them, you’ll be able to tailor your advising strategies to address their needs. Rather than singling any one identity out, this could give the student the opportunity to select the topics they would like to discuss with you. Some examples may include academics, family concerns, first time flyer, first time abroad, LGBTQ+, race or ethnicity, special needs, and so on. 

It is important to consider that even a questionnaire asking students to disclose their desire for advising materials related to LGBTQ+ topics may be uncomfortable for some students. This may lead to students not getting the advising they need. One way to avoid the awkwardness of making assumptions or requiring students to disclose is to provide a quality standard of advising on LGBTQ+ topics to all students. This can be done by pointing to online resources or covering LGBTQ+ topics in pre-departure sessions for all students. This will not only ensure that LGBTQ+ students have access to resources, but that their ally peers will too. This strategy, coupled with one-on-one advising opportunities mentioned above, guarantees students will have both online resources and in-person advising opportunities for support. It can also be helpful to share your own similar experiences with students, when applicable. 

If advising takes places in an open area, be sensitive to the comfort level of the student and privacy needs they may have. If available, you may choose to move to a more private meeting space. 

Being Out Abroad

Being ‘out’ or ‘out of the closet’ is a personal and often difficult experience for many LGBTQ+ people. Many LGBTQ+ individuals have their own story of this process of publicly identifying themselves with a LGBTQ+ identity. Being ‘out’ is not possible or even advisable in all situations and an expectation of a student being out (even if they are out to you) should not be assumed. For instance, some students might be out on campus but not at home, or only out to friends, or not at all. 

When going abroad, there are locations and programs where being out might not be the safest idea for a student. These locations change often and can depend on many factors, so they are not listed here. Many links in the Resources section below contain updated information by location. 

The information covered here applies to all abroad opportunities. When working with a student who is thinking about their LGBTQ+ identity abroad, you might want to discuss with them:

  • What does being out mean?
  • Do they plan to be out abroad? To whom? Their program, homestay, friends, faculty?
  • Have they learned about LGTBQ+ rights and safety for their intended country/program? Where can they find out more? 
  • Can they identify someone in the program who they can disclose their identity to? 

There can be a reverse to this, as in some areas of the U.S., it may be more “common” for a student to be out and they may not be used to having to be ‘in the closet’ for safety reasons. In these cases a conversation about this may need to be broached with the student, and keep in mind that it might be their first time considering hiding a part of their identity while studying abroad.

Program Selection

Rather than presenting program options you may feel are best suited for LGBTQ+- identified students, start with the full portfolio of program options and help them decide which experience will best meet their goals and objectives. Once a student has described the type of experience they would like to pursue, an advisor may help them understand whether or not a particular option meets their needs. At a minimum, the advisor can point the student to additional resources to explore regarding the country climate. 

Since laws impacting LGBTQ+ people vary around the world, it is important that students understand the legal and cultural landscape of the country they will be studying in, as this may have implications for the program a student ultimately selects for their study abroad experience. It is ideal to have country-specific information ready for advising purposes. A number of resources have been included at the end of this document which contain information for LGBTQ+ students pursuing study abroad, including a link to the University of California Davis’LGBTQIA Resource Center’s interactive world map. Although they have just rolled out phase 1 of the map, 20 countries contain relevant information including laws impacting LGBTQ+ people, multimedia resources about LGBTQ+ identities in the region, organizations offering support and pride events. Additional maps are also referenced in the Advising Resources section below. 

For students who are interested in pursuing queer and gender academic study abroad, have a list of programs with course options on hand to share.

Housing Considerations

While advising, encourage students to think about what kind of housing experience they want while studying abroad. Is the student comfortable with cultural expectations and norms they will be subjected to during a homestay? In a more independent housing scenario, is the student comfortable sharing living arrangements with another student? It is a good idea to have a list of programs on hand which allow students to pay extra for a single room. If the student is transgender and is interested in studying at an institution with single-gender residence halls, be prepared to find out from that institution how they accommodate trans students. For example, will the student be housed according to the sex or gender listed on their travel documents or can they self-select according to their identity? 

Students may want to consider if, when and how they want to disclose their identity to a homestay family or to roommates. Disclosure should be completely up to the student, and faculty and staff should be careful not to accidentally “out” a student or disclose a student’s identity unless they have permission to do so. 

Another consideration is that students may need access to gender neutral or private restrooms at the host university and in housing. If possible, identify in advance if and where gender neutral restrooms are available so the student has this information on hand.

Medical Needs

While it is ideal to identify resources and anticipate needs in advance, a good idea is to identify a mentor, advisor or contact at the host university that can be a resource for navigating medical needs on campus once abroad. 

It is also important to know in advance where queer and trans-friendly health care providers are located. Students will be able to seek the help they need if a list is available to them. Medical needs also include access to mental health care. LGBTQ+ students may carry with them the trauma of past experiences with homophobia or transphobia. Just as racism is a social reality that shifts depending on historical and cultural context, LGBTQ+ students may be confronted with a new system of microaggressions, insults, and social categories. A list of professionals with expertise supporting LGBTQ+ individuals should be easily made available. Consider asking your institution’s insurance provider if this is information they can provide.

Trans Student

Trans or transgender are used as an umbrella term to refer to individuals that do not identify with the gender and/or sex they were assigned at birth. Genderqueer people may use the term trans as well to describe themselves. 

Many trans people may choose to undergo gender confirming efforts to align their outward physical presentation with the gender they identify as. Their transition may include hormone replacement therapy (HRT), gender confirming surgeries, and cosmetic procedures. Students may ask if they can take or acquire their medications like HRT abroad and if it will be covered by insurance. 

It is important to note that not all trans students seek these types of gender confirming efforts; some students may pursue some and not others. Trans students may identify within the gender binary (e.g.: as a trans man or man, a trans woman or woman) or outside of it (e.g.: as non-binary, genderqueer, or agender). 

An additional obstacle for trans students that may not exist for others is legal documentation that displays “sex.” Students may not have a passport or may have an outdated passport that established their registered sex as something other than that with which they identify. For visa purposes, students will need to decide what sex they are comfortable designating on their legal documents. 

Be sure to check in with students that disclose that they are trans to find out if it is important to them to have their passport match their identity before they travel abroad. Students that have changed their name, may wish to simultaneously update their legal documents. Information on how to apply for a change of sex for U.S. passports can be found here (note: The term ‘gender designation change’ is used, though the options are currently female or male). Some students may not yet be ready to make a change to their legal name or sex designation.

Collaboration with Colleagues: Faculty, Administrator and Peer Support

Collaborating with colleagues is an excellent way to learn from their expertise supporting LGBTQ+ students. This expertise may be found by approaching the queer studies department, gender and sexuality center, diversity and inclusion office, multicultural office, LGBTQ+ student organizations, or counseling center. A good place to start with professional development is a Safe Space training mentioned above.

Inclusive Hiring

Building knowledge and expertise within your own international education team is important. In addition to professional development and inter-office collaborations, adopting inclusive hiring practices demonstrates a commitment to promoting inclusive excellence in the education abroad office. Fostering an inclusive environment and culture can bring about positive organizational change which can result in an ability to better serve a more diverse range of students. Outcomes of such intentional efforts can touch all aspects of the delivery of study abroad opportunities from inclusive programming to more effective policies and procedures. 

In addition to full-time staff, strive to hire peer advisors who reflect the diversity found within the population of students on campus. If there is a lack of diverse students who have studied abroad in the past which contributes to a lack of diversity in the hiring pool, consider the impact policies requiring that students have studied abroad before may have. With proper training, students who have not yet studied abroad can do an effective job. The peer advisor experience will likely encourage them to study abroad, and the student will be modeling study 8 abroad as achievable for students who share similar identities, both in their role as a peer advisor and when they actually do commit to going abroad.

How to Share Information When Notifying Administrators and Faculty

When sharing information with other administrators, staff and faculty, focus on using gender pronouns that reflect the correct identity of the student, per the student’s wishes for these purposes. If a student discloses how they want to be identified, record the identity on shared documents, but ensure these documents are restricted to those who need to know the information. This will help avoid outing a student who does not wish to broadly share their identity. Technology should capture the chosen name and use it.

Student Resources Your Organization Provides

In addition to the advising considerations and inclusive hiring of peer advisors and staff members detailed above, other strategies for supporting LGBTQ+ students should be considered. 

Your Organizational Website

On a basic level, your organization’s website will ideally contain a statement which reflects a commitment to nondiscrimination. More specifically, a diversity and inclusion statement will indicate an organizational commitment to supporting all students through the services you provide. The more transparent your website, the better. A commitment to inclusive excellence demonstrates your priority of employing policies and procedures conducive to valuing the perspectives, needs and contributions of all stakeholders. 

Various sections of the website can be designed to include a wide range of perspectives and resources which focus on diversity and inclusion. An LGBTQ+ page or section of the website can list other websites which contain resources designed for this student population, such as those included in the Resources section at the end of this document. The scholarships section of the website can contain information about scholarships for LGBTQ+ students who study abroad. Student quotes that are used throughout the website should be inclusive. 

Seek allies in upper administration, faculty, and leadership that are strong supporters of LGBTQ+ students. Hopefully, they are already passionate about study abroad as well and will be willing to support efforts to meet the study-abroad needs of this population!

Peer Perspectives

Students greatly value the perspectives of their peers because they have faced some of the same challenges students may be struggling with as they prepare to study abroad. It is important to incorporate a diverse representation of student voices throughout the wide range of resources made available to students. In addition to inclusive student quotes on the website and 9 in other materials, student blogs which cover diverse perspectives can be helpful to students. If these are not available at your institution, you can easily link to other LGBTQ+ study abroad blogs. A good resource containing stories written by students about LGBTQ+ study abroad can be found on IFSA-Butler’s online resource Unpacked: A Study Abroad Guide for Students LikeMe, specifically the LGBTQ+ section. A story that was recently published, for example, talks about the legal and cultural LGBTQ+ landscape in Cuba and addresses program selection, a comparison of identity-based experiences home and abroad and cis-hetero privilege. 

When creating student panels for events, consider the range of experiences and identities the students bring to the panel. Not only is it important to strive for student panelists who represent different program regions, types, terms (short- and long-term) and majors, students on panels who are comfortable discussing their experiences abroad in relation to their identity can provide perspectives which address both invisible and visible identities. Ultimately, student panels also model the type of student who goes abroad, at least in the eyes of the students attending the event. 

Another way to provide peer support is to connect students with alumni who have expressed interest and given permission to speak about their LGBTQ+ experiences abroad.

Programming for the LGBTQ+ Population

Depending on your campus and your office, specific programming that highlights or includes LGBTQ+ themes is a great way to reach LGBTQ+ students. Some institutions embrace an approach of holistic support to LGBTQ+ students, by including relevant information in all general programs and info sessions. This may be complemented by adding in specific sessions for LGBTQ+ students. Examples of programs may include:

  • LGBTQ+ returnee panels
  • LGTBQ+ inclusive marketing
  • Promoting LGBTQ+/queer studies or gender studies programs
  • Collaboration with campus LGBTQ+ groups
  • Attendance/volunteering at LGBTQ+ campus group programs

Pre-departure

Pre-departure advising materials should be inclusive of LGBTQ+ topics. Just as LGBTQ+ advising resources should be available to all students, LGBTQ+ resources and information should be covered in the pre-departure that everyone receives because it is critical that LGBTQ+ students and allies alike have access to pertinent information while preparing to go abroad. In addition, it is okay to offer a separate and more thorough LGBTQ+-specific session.

If we subscribe to the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis positing that language affects the way we think, we can see how language and terminology pose a distinct challenge to students abroad. As with most societal views, ideologies around LGBTQ+ identities are culturally based. These cultural differences surface in many ways—clothing, physical contact, sociality among genders, gestures, language. Try to prepare students for some of these differences in pre-departure/prearrival materials. Several of the Advising Resources listed in the Resources section of this guide 10 contain country-specific information that can both help you learn as an advisor and can help the student prepare themselves.

The upcoming Challenges section of this document also contains important information related to pre-departure, such as the LGBTQ+ cultural climate abroad and safety considerations.

Re-entry

While reverse culture shock is not unique to LGBTQ+ students, re-entry sessions should be as inclusive as pre-departure sessions. Ensure that LGBTQ+ perspectives are included. Just as students learned to navigate their LGBTQ+ identity abroad, they must now return home and adjust all over again. Continuing the dialogue with students about what challenges and successes they experienced abroad will help them process and articulate these experiences. 

In the end, perhaps some LGBTQ+ study abroad alumni would like to serve as a resource for future students who will prepare to go abroad, to blog about their experience or to share their experience in some other way.

Challenges LGBTQ+ Students May Face

One of the main challenges LGBTQ+ students may face entails adjusting to the LGBTQ+ cultural norms in a given country abroad. Of course being aware of the legal LGBTQ+ landscape in a country is imperative. Again, several of the advising resources listed below describe the legal and cultural LGBTQ+ climate in other countries. 

Some cultures may not recognize LGBTQ+ identities in the same way as we’ve come to in the U.S. Or perhaps they’ll use different words to describe similar concepts. At times, this may result in a seeming invalidation of U.S. perspectives on LGBTQ+ topics, which can be disheartening for LGBTQ+ students that are likely to have had similar experiences with outright homophobia and transphobia in the U.S. 

A more open society will be more progressive with regard to LGBTQ+ rights than a less tolerant society, however students can expect to have more culturally-nuanced experiences. The Fa'afafine community in American Samoa, identifying themselves as third-gender, provides a concrete example of how gender identity is approached very differently in another culture. 

One unexpected cultural phenomenon some students have experienced has to do with studying abroad in collective societies. Since the U.S. is a very individualistic society, individual expression is valued, whereas in many collective societies, individual expression is more frowned upon. A student with an American cultural background may initially perceive a lack of expressive diversity in the culture, when in reality this expression ties greatly to the collective culture nature of the society. Where possible, endeavor to describe linguistic and conceptual differences between LGBTQ+ topics in the U.S. and the student’s chosen location.

Safety

Safety concerns for LGBTQ+ students will vary from country to country and city to city. Homophobia and transphobia are not unique to any country, but rates of violence against LGBTQ+ individuals should be factored into student research of programs of interest. It is important for students to be aware of any legislation restricting gender presentation and/or sexual activity among same-gender individuals in their country of interest. 

The legal status of same-gender marriage and sex are often metrics used to judge the openness of a society. Students should be encouraged to explore social climate guides and human rights reports. If you advise on specific regions, be prepared to respond to inquiries about LGBTQ+ safety abroad with such resources, some of which are found in this guide under the Advising Resources section. 

According to their website, the ILGA – the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association – is the world federation of national and local organisations dedicated to achieving equal rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people. The organization offers maps and sexual orientation laws for countries the world over, in addition to other resources and data, and is a strong resource for up-to-date information.

Pitfalls to Avoid

When supporting LGBTQ+ students who would like to study abroad, there are some clear pitfalls to avoid. Many of these are detailed previously in the document, so this list may serve as a collective reminder:

  • Rather than narrowing down the program list based on LGBTQ-friendly locations, start by recommending all programs and help students decide what experience is best for them, given their goals and expectations
    • Students should be equipped with resources they can investigate to help them understand the LGBTQ+ climate of the foreign countries they are considering
  • Don't assume gender or sexuality, let students disclose. Strive to create a welcome and open environment so that they feel comfortable coming forward.
  • Don't ask students to disclose their LGBTQ+ topics, be honest about your knowledge or lack thereof and be ready to refer a student to someone who may have more knowledge.
  • At any stage of working with students in the study abroad pipeline, work hard to develop trust and to normalize.
  • Address LGBTQ+ discussion topics you have with ALL students, thereby supporting LGBTQ+ students and building knowledge among peers and allies.
  • Be honest and transparent at orientation. Inform students of the reality of the LGBTQ+ climate abroad and avoid sugarcoating
  • Onsite staff should provide host-country to help students acclimate to life abroad. Work to ensure that onsite staff have LGBTQ+ knowledge and are capable of providing support, or at least directing students to resources. Staff will ideally have an understanding of U.S. context that students bring with them.
  • Explicitly mention in onsite orientation that program leaders can help support a wide range of identities, such as....
  • Consider how gender-based onsite activities are not inclusive of all LGBTQ+ students.
  • Be aware of the potential for outing a student. It is critical to support the wishes of the student and avoid outing them to colleagues, host families, and students.
  • Ask students which gender they would prefer to have for roommates where possible.Also consider that some students may need single-accommodation housing.

Resources

Although website links are constantly changing and resources are developed on an ongoing basis, at press time, the following is a list of viable LGBTQ+ resources for advising, institutional models, collaborating via the Diversity Expertise Log, articles and blogs, scholarships, data/reports and conference sessions related to LGBTQ+ topics.

Advising Resources

NAFSA's Diversity Expertise Log

The NAFSA Education Abroad Diversity Expertise Log, hosted by NAFSA’s Diversity and Inclusion in Education Abroad Subcommittee, is a central repository of individuals, organizations and/or programs with expertise or a passion for addressing one or more areas of diversity and inclusion in education abroad. The goal of the log is to provide a resource for the field of 13 education abroad to help identify best practices, models of innovation, potential co-presenters or co-collaborators, and to connect people and ideas. The log contains lists for professionals and programs geared toward supporting LGBTQ+ student mobility.

Terminology

Articles/Stories

Scholarships

Explicitly for Education Abroad

  • Rainbow Scholarship - The Rainbow is awarded to LGBT students who want to pursue meaningful, intensive education programs abroad and is made possible by the generous donations and support of numerous international education professionals that are dedicated to helping LGBT students participate in international programs
    • Awarded by the Fund for Education Abroad annually, this scholarship is part of the NAFSA Rainbow Special Interest Group, which is made up of professionals that are devoted to supporting and counseling LGBT students as well as combating discrimination against LGBT students.
  • GoAbroad.com's listing of 12 Study Abroad Scholarships for LGBT Students.
  • Gilman Scholarship - A U.S. Department of State scholarship program for students with limited financial means which has been successful in supporting students who have been historically underrepresented in education abroad.

Additional Scholarship Opportunities

  • The Point Foundation - LGBTQ Scholarship - The Point Foundation is a national, publicly-supported, scholarship-granting organization focused on helping LGBTQ students. It seeks to empower promising LGBTQs to achieve their academic and leadership potential. Aside from financial support, the Point Foundation also provides mentorship, leadership development, and community service to LGBTQ students in high school and university. Each year the scholarship ranges from $5,000 to $28,000.
  • Gamma Mu Foundation Scholarship - The Gamma Mu Foundation seeks to award individual scholarships to gay men who are interested on attending a postsecondary institution or a vocational school. The foundation supports a wide array of educational options, so that every gay student can pursue their specific educational aspirations, including associate degrees, bachelor’s degrees, graduate programs, and vocational and technical training. The foundation gives a $19,000 award each year.
  • Pride Foundation Scholarships - Established in 1985, the Pride Foundation is a regional community organization that is dedicated to giving opportunity and equality to LGBTQs across the Northwestern region of the United States. The Pride Foundation has over 50 scholarships available for LGBTQ students. These scholarships are categorized by academic pursuits, community leadership, cultural identities, and geography, but are available to students at every degree level. The Pride Foundation’s scholarship awards range from $5,000 to $10,000.
  • LEAGUE Foundation - LGBT Scholarship - Since 1996, the LEAGUE Foundation has been providing financial resources to American LGBT high school seniors who want to pursue higher education. The foundation has three separate scholarship awards: the Laurel Hester Memorial Scholarship, the Matthew Shepard Memorial Scholarship, and the LEAGUE Foundation Scholarship. Applications are accepted from January through April annually, and awardees are announced in July.
  • APIQWTC Scholarship - Asia Pacific Islander Queer Women and Transgender Community (APIQWTC), pronounced as “Api-cutesy”, is a volunteer-based organization founded in 1987. The APIQWTC scholarship is awarded to two Asian Pacific Islander, lesbian, bisexual, queer, or transgender students pursuing technical or professional training or full degree programs at higher education institutions each year. The selected scholars receive a $1000 scholarship to go toward their educational endeavors.
  • PFLAG National Scholarships - Founded in 1972, PFLAG is the largest grassrootsbased organization in the U.S. The organization is committed to advocating for equality and societal affirmation of LGBTQs. The PFLAG National scholarship is open to LGBT and allied students worldwide, who plan to pursue a higher education and demonstrate an interest in participating in the LGBT community. Awardees receive $1,000 to $5,000.
  • Stonewall Foundation Scholarships - Since 1990, the Stonewall Foundation has been focusing on the needs of the LGBTQ community specifically in the state of New York. The foundation inspires meaningful change by creating scholarship opportunities for LGBTQ students. In 2015, the Stonewall Foundation offered four separate scholarships opportunities for LGBTQ students, each one reflecting the unique values of its donors.
  • Colin Higgins Youth Courage Award - Established in 2000, the Colin Higgins Foundation gives away the Youth Courage Award annually to recognize exceptional students who demonstrate courage in the face of adversity and discrimination. LGBTQ youth activists who apply will have the chance to win a grant of $10,000, an opportunity to attend the National Conference on LGBT Equality, and be honored during Pride Week on an allexpense paid trip to Los Angeles or New York.
  • NGPA - Aviation Scholarship - Gay, lesbians, and their straight allies who are interested in pursuing an aviation career can apply for a scholarship provided by the National Gay Pilots Association (NGPA). This international organization promotes equality as well as aviation safety. The NGPA Aviation Scholarship is awarded to exceptional candidates who have demonstrated involvement and support of the LGBT community.
  • IGLTA Foundation Scholarships - The International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association Foundation offers Annual Global Convention Scholarships in order to support future LGBT leaders in the fields of tourism and hospitality. The IGLTA Foundation also focuses on supporting students interested in establishing businesses in destinations that lack LGBT acceptance, in order to help promote awareness and global acceptance of the LGBT community

Data and Reports

College Students' Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity, and Participation in Study Abroad.

Bryant, Kelly M. and Soria, Krista M. of University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Frontiers Journal, Vol. XXV: Spring 2015.

Professional Resources

  • Somewhere Over the Rainbow - A professional development space on sexual orientation and gender identity in international education, including occasional in-person conferences as well as webinar series. These programs are sponsored by the University of Maryland, College Park.
  • Diversity Abroad's LGBTQI+ Task Force

Conference Sessions

NAFSA 2017 Conference

  • Staying Afloat: Queer Students of Color on Social Media
    • Alexander Cho, Ph.D., Postdoctoral Scholar with the Digital Media and Learning Hub at the University of California Humanities Research Institute. College can be a bewildering time. For LGBTQ students of color, they have the additional element of navigating a social and structural terrain that may or may not be friendly. Many students use social media as a way to cope, but they also express fears and hesitations about using certain platforms. This session, based on research with queer college students of color, offers insight into the tools and tactics students use to stay afloat.
  • Supporting Students Who Identify as Transgender
    • Eris Hillis, Rhodes College and Lance Poston, University of Kentucky. How will your institution modify current policies or practices to accommodate Title IX regulations protecting and supporting students who identify as transgender? What does this mean for international students studying in the United States or study abroad students on your programs? When, and to what extent, will you comply with the Dear Colleague letter issued by the U.S. Department of Education?
      • Understand what the Dear Colleague letter says, and what it doesn't and its implications for your institution. 
      • Learn to interpret the Title IX regulation as it relates to students who are transgender and put your interpretation into practice on your campus.
      • Grasp Title IX's on-campus implications for your international student population and your study abroad population; be ready to make suggestions for improving compliance at your institution. 

Somewhere Over the Rainbow Conference 2017

Forum on Education Abroad 2017

  • An Advisor Toolkit: Connecting with LGBTQ+ Students Throughout the Study Abroad Experience
    • Maria Segala (Boston College); Seth Weil (BCA Study Abroad); Ana Rosa Garcia Covaria (Georgia Institute of Technology) - As LGBTQ+ students navigate through the pre, during, and post stages of study abroad, they face particular challenges as they explore their identity both at home and abroad. In this presentation, we will explore different tools advisors can use to connect with LGBTQ+ students, encourage increased participation, and provide LGBTQ+ students with resources to ensure a successful abroad experience.
     

Student Resource

Find out where homosexual orientation is recognized, protected, or criminalized to help students make informed study abroad decisions.

ILGA Maps of the World