LGBTQA travelers face different challenges as they move from a location where they understand the rights and the cultural and societal expectations for LGBTQA people, to locations where these rights and expectations are different.
The U.S. Department of State states in their For LGBT Travelers webpage. “Some countries offer many legal protections to those who are LGBT, while other countries criminalize same-sex sexual activity… Penalties in these countries vary from a minimum penalty to long-term imprisonment or even a death sentence… Remember, civil and human rights are only as protected as the local laws allow.”
Many LGBTQA people travel abroad without incidents, however understanding the culture, expectations and rights LGBTQA people have in the chosen destination can go a long way in ensuring an uneventful trip. Some questions you may want to ask yourself are:
- Is it safe for me to be out at my host country?
- What are the laws regarding homosexuality?
- Are there areas or places I should avoid?
- What are the cultural norms regarding friendship, dating and sexual relationships?
- What are the cultural norms and attitudes for the LGBTQA population?
- What are the safety and self-protection practices the LBGTQA population follow at my destination?
- Are there LGBTQA resources available at my destination?
The following are some options you have to get answers:
- Get a good guide book for your destination. Some of these will have a section for LGBT travelers.
- Contact the Pride student organization at UT Dallas. Some of the group members may have traveled abroad in the past and can have valuable experience to share, or can point you to additional resources.
- Contact the LEAP Committee at firstname.lastname@example.org and request their assistance. They may be able to put you in touch with other LGBTQA students who have traveled abroad before, or can point you to additional resources.
You may also find helpful the following resources:
- Traveler toolkit.
- U.S. Department of State
- NAFSA Rainbow special interest group for LGBT students abroad.
- IGLHR International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission.
- International Lesbian and Gay Association: Maps on Lesbian and Gay rights in the world.
The risk information in this post is retrieved from sources as listed in the post. It provides general guidance for UT Dallas travelers. Please note the published date of this post, and go to the direct sources listed in the post for the most up-to-date information. The information in this post may change without prior notice.