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LGBTQ+ and Gender Abroad

Everyone’s journey through the development of their sexual and gender identity is unique. Perhaps you’ve already learned how to navigate your identity on campus and in your daily life. Perhaps you’re just beginning that journey. Either way, studying abroad presents a new challenge and a new opportunity to continue exploring your identity. 

When considering studying abroad, it is important for LGBTQ+ students to consider the laws and customs of the country or countries they intend to live in, as they can vary drastically from our own laws and views in the United States.  Just as you will experience culture shock with things like food, music, and conversation, so too will you experience culture shock when exploring relationship dynamics and cultural mores regarding sexual orientation, gender, and identity. Though challenging, this can be another opportunity for growth and development in ways that you could never have imagined as you meet new people and develop new connections. 

UTA is committed to helping all its students have a rewarding and academically robust experience while abroad. If you have questions or concerns about your sexual or gender identity while studying abroad, there are a multitude of resources available online (see below), as well as on campus through the UTA LGBTQA Program.  

Questions to Consider 

Use these questions as you consider studying abroad and reach out to our office or the UTA LGBTQA Program if you need help answering any of them. 

  • How might my identity influence where I choose to travel? 
  • How does my preferred host country view LGBTQ+ individuals? 
  • Is it safe for me to be openly “out” or expressive of my identity in my preferred host country?  
  • What cultural attitudes, laws, or context exist towards sexual orientation in the host country? 
  • What is my host culture’s perspective on gender identity (binary, non-binary, etc.) and gender roles? What is considered typical male and female social behavior, including gender roles and gender relations, in the host country? 
  • Can the program accommodate special housing requests such as single rooms, private baths, or certain roommates? 


Content developed with assistance from University of Michigan, UNT, Diversity Abroad, MIUSA, and Forum.