Study Abroad advisors play a key role in a student’s decision
where, when and how to study abroad. LGBTQ students have unique considerations in terms of location, program provider, housing options, etc. This resource guide is meant to offer useful information advisors may use to assist students with these important decisions. Happy Advising!

Creating Safe Spaces

A safe space a space where an individual can be open about who he/she/they are free of fear. The space is respectful of all people, inclusive of the LGBTQ community. Here are some tips to help create a safe space

  • Have a ‘Safe Zone’ sticker available in office
  • Have resources for students available regarding appropriate programs/destinations
  • Include a non-discrimination statement on applications that includes sexual orientation
  • Include LGBTQ information and resources in Pre-Departure orientations and handbooks and discuss LGBTQ identity in these sessions.
  • Discuss identity in PDO and include LGBTQ identity
  • Hold information sessions for LGBTQ students where concerns can be addressed


  • Ally Someone who is a friend, advocate, and/or activist for LGBTQ people.
  • Asexual A term used to identify someone who does not experience sexual attraction to anyone.
  • Bisexual A term used to identify someone who has romantic and/or sexual feelings, attractions, and/or relationships with men and women. This does not necessarily mean that bisexuals have relationships with both men and women at the same time-this is a common stereotype. It also does not mean that a person is equally attracted to men and women. Levels of attraction may vary.
  • Closeted or In the Closet A term commonly used to indicate that someone is hiding their sexual orientation.
  • Coming Out The term used to describe the process by which lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals recognize, acknowledge, accept, and appreciate their sexual identities.
  • Gay Usually refers to men who have romantic and/or sexual feelings, attractions, and/or relationships with other men. Some women may also identify themselves as gay.
  • Gender The expression or behavior of a person qualified by society as masculine, feminine, androgynous or any mix thereof.
  • Gender Identity The sense that a person is male or female. A person’s sense of being masculine, feminine, in-between, or androgynous; a sense that is independent from biological sex and usually manifests itself by age three or four.
  • Gender Expression The way you communicate your gender to others.
  • Heterosexual A person who has romantic and sexual feelings, attractions, and/or relationships with someone considered to be the opposite gender.
  • Heterosexism The societal/cultural, institutional, and individual beliefs and practices that privilege heterosexuals and subordinate and denigrate LGBTQ people. The critical element that differentiates heterosexism from prejudice and discrimination is the use of institutional power and authority to support prejudices and enforce discriminatory behaviors in systematic ways with far-reaching outcomes and effects.
  • Homophobia The fear, hatred, or intolerance of people who identify or are perceived to be lesbians or gay men, including the fear of being seen as lesbian or gay yourself. Homophobic behavior can range from telling jokes about lesbians and gay men, to verbal abuse, to acts of physical violence.
  • LGBTQ An acronym sometimes used to refer to individuals or groups of individuals who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, or questioning.
  • Lesbian A woman who has romantic or sexual feelings, attractions, and/or relationships with other women.
  • Outing The act of revealing someone’s gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender identity without permission.
  • Queer A term that some LGBTQ people have claimed as an inclusive and positive way to describe themselves and their community. Some people use it as an umbrella term or as a term in and of itself. Some people choose not to use the word “queer” because of its history as a derogatory term.
  • Questioning The process of considering or exploring one’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity.
  • Safe Space A space where an individual can be open about who he/she/are are free of fear. The space is respectful of all people, inclusive of the LGBTQ community.
  • Sexism The cultural, institutional, and individual set of beliefs and practices that privilege men, subordinate women, and denigrate values and practices associated with women.
  • Sexual Orientation An enduring emotional, romantic, sexual, or affectional attraction to individuals of a particular gender. Commonly recognized sexual orientations are “gay” and “lesbian” (attraction to individuals of one’s own gender), “heterosexual” (attraction to individuals of another gender), and “bisexual” (attraction to individuals of various genders).
  • Sexuality The components of a person that include their biological sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, sexual practices, etc.
  • Transgender Used most often as an umbrella term, some commonly held definitions are: Someone whose behavior or expression does not match their assigned sex; A gender outside of the man/ woman binary.

Web Resources

International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association

U.S. Department of State – Information for LGBTQ Travelers

“9 Major Life Lessons I learned Studying Abroad as an LGBTQ” by Robin Goralka,

“10 Reasons Why LGBT Students Should Study Abroad” Carleton College

“Items to consider for LGBT students studying abroad” by Annie Rose Stathes,

“LGBT Students face challenges while studying abroad” by Shelli Gimelstein, The Daily Pennsylvanian


LGBTQ Rights By Country or Territory, Wikipedia