LGBTQIA+ Students Abroad

Photo of LGBTQ image

LGBTQIA+ Students Abroad

LGBTQIA+ Students Abroad

Just as in the US, attitudes towards and understanding of the LGBTQIA+ community and issues vary around the world. Most LGBTQIA+ travelers can travel just as easily as their Cis-Het* counterparts, but there are countries which aren’t as open to the LGBTQIA+ community as the US. In some countries, LGBTQIA+ individuals are protected and have equal rights in their society. In other places, openly identifying as LGBTQIA+ is punishable by law, or there may be no laws to protect an individual from gender- or sexuality-based discrimination or hate crimes. You may find that in another country you can be more open about your identity than in the US, or that you need to keep your sexual or gender identity to yourself to avoid cultural or legal problems. US citizens are subject to the laws of their host country and may not have the same protections available in the US, so it is important to know the laws and conditions of your destination before you go.

Understanding this will help you make an informed choice about your study abroad destination. Students who identify as non-cis should research their destination and talk with the Study Abroad staff about the cultural norms and LGBTQIA+ rights and issues in their location. The resources below are intended to help navigate places outside the US.

Questions to Consider

  • What are the laws regarding sexual orientation/gender identity in my proposed host country? How can I navigate these laws? Should I consider this country for study abroad?
  • What are the laws and cultural norms related to friendship, dating, and sexual behavior in my destination country?
  • What kinds of LGBTQIA+ resources are there in my host country?
  • Is there a united, visible LGBTQIA+ community in my host country/city? What are some ways members of these diverse communities represent themselves within the wider society?

Campus Resources

Your primary resources on campus are the Office of Global Initiatives and the Speicher-Rubin Women's Center for Equity and Diversity

Online Resources

Laws, TSA and U.S. State Department information

General International Organizations

  • ILGA – The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association has information on over 110 countries and offers a country-by-country survey of the legal position of GLBTQ individuals.
  • IGLHRC – The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission is an NGO dedicated to human rights advocacy group.

Scholarships for LGBTQIA+ Students

  • The Pride Foundation – A foundation that inspires a culture of generosity, connecting Northwest organizations, leaders, and students who are creating LGBTQIA+ equality. They facilitate post-secondary educational scholarships.
  • Human Rights Campaign – The HRC advocates on behalf of LGBTQIA+ Americans, mobilizes grassroots actions in diverse communities, invests strategically to elect fair-minded individuals to office and educates the public about LGBTQIA+ issues.  They also have student scholarships.


*Cis- Het: Cisgender/heterosexual