"The Paris that I had dreamt of for so long now holds a firm and unbreakable grasp on my memory. Though I may physically be back in the States, regardless of audience or geographic location, I’ve learned that no one can take my identity away from me. At long last, I feel both confident on the inside and out; I’m proud of where I’m from and the person I’m growing to be."
"Studying abroad, I never felt discriminated or alienated because of my LGBTQ identity. I studied in a very socially liberal country and had a great time - studying abroad is something I would recommend to anyone, and one's gender or sexual orientation should not stop them from taking advantage of the amazing study abroad programs offered to us."
"Surprisingly, I felt more welcome in the country I studied abroad in than I could have ever imagined. Pride flags were posted in business windows and were flown above all the public transportation. Having an LGBTQ identity abroad provided me with unique perspectives on the topics we learned about and I would absolutely recommend studying abroad to anyone I know. "
“The Ross China trip taught me the immense value of hearing a different perspective. It taught me a lot about valuing the identities and backgrounds of others, especially those in my community - the LGBTQ+ community - because there’s so much diversity out there. I also began learning about how different cultures view our community and the conversations that have yet to be had abroad. I’m encouraged, though, by the progress being made on a global scale and cannot wait until my next journey abroad as a member of the community.”
Researching the climate for LGBTQ+ individuals around the world is an important part of deciding where you will travel. Attitudes around sexual orientation and gender identity are constantly shifting on the global stage and it’s essential that you have an understanding of LGBTQ+ rights in your host country. Use this page to explore considerations, opportunities, and challenges related to traveling abroad as an LGBTQ+ individual.
Did You Know?
- LGBTQ+ individuals are everywhere in the world. Even in areas that are considered to be more conservative when it comes to rights and visibility, LGBTQ+ individuals are holding pride marches and celebrations of identity.
- According to Equaldex, homosexual activity is legal in 148 countries, 100 countries give citizens the right to change their legal gender, and 46 countries have currently legalized same-sex marriage.
- The Human Rights Campaign provides links to a number of scholarships within the state of Michigan for members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Information was last updated November 2018.
Time to Reflect:
As you consider and prepare for an international experience, use the following questions as a guide. Keep in mind that this is not an exhaustive list and you may relate to multiple identities. You are encouraged to discuss these topics in-person with an education abroad advisor in your school or college. The Spectrum Center can also provide guidance and resources as you prepare for your experience.
- Examine the laws and attitudes of your host country
- How does my preferred host country view LGBTQ+ individuals?
- How will being “out” affect my legal rights?
- How might laws and cultural norms in my host country affect my ability to express my identity?
- Consider the cultural attitudes of your host country
- What is my host culture’s perspective on gender identity (binary, non-binary, etc.) and gender roles?
- How might being “out” affect the relationships I form in my host country?
- Research health and safety considerations
- Is it safe for me to be openly “out” or expressive of my identity in my preferred host country?
- Will I have the same access to medications as I do in the United States?
- Seek out your community
- Is there a local LGBTQ+ community I can connect with abroad?
Take a deeper dive into LGBTQ+ considerations in international travel by exploring the following resources:
Download the LGBTQ+ Abroad flyer for additional questions and considerations for traveling abroad. Bring this resource with you when meeting with an academic advisor, education abroad advisor, or other UM office.
U-M is the No. 4 all-time producer of Peace Corps volunteers since it was founded in 1961
U-M ranked 4th in the nation in the number of students studying abroad for the 2017-2018 academic year.
Institute of International Education