Things to do before you leave:
- Attend the Out Abroad Panel to hear BGLTQ students share how being BGLTQ might play into your experience.
- Use the OIE’s BGLTQ Peer Contact List to connect with Harvard students who have experience traveling in your country or region.
- Research cultural norms and the climate surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Check local laws and societal practices regarding BGLTQ issues, “same-sex” sexual behavior, and expressions of BGLTQ identity and community.
- Find local BGLTQ media sources to learn more about your country/region.
- If housing involves a homestay or other shared living arrangement, ask the coordinator about a BGLTQ-friendly placement.
Things to think about:
- How open will I be about my sexual and/or gender identity(ies) with my, peers, friends, host family, etc.? Will I be “out” to my program staff? How might this impact my interpersonal relationships?
- How important is it for me to find other BGLTQ individuals and friends while abroad? How will I go about finding them? What types of social media or phone applications can help me meet other BGLTQ individuals in my city?
- What language do they speak in my country? How will I be comfortable or what pronouns will I prefer if the language is characterized by gender-specific words?
- Do I need any documentation related to my gender identity at security checkpoints? How will I be prepared in case I get stopped or hassled?
- What types of safer sex supplies are available for purchase in my country? Do I need to do anything ahead of time or bring anything with me in order to protect and maintain my sexual health while abroad?
- What are my safety needs and perceptions, and how can they best be met?
- Harvard Office of BGLTQ Student Life: www.bgltq.fas.harvard.edu
- Department of State’s LGBT Travel Information page: http://www.travel.state.gov/content/passports/english/go/lgbt.html
- NAFSA Rainbow Special Interest Group: http://www.rainbowsig.org/
- National Center for Transgender Equality - Air Travel Tips for Transgender People: http://www.nctequality.org/airtravel.pdf
- International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission: http://iglhrc.org/
- International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association: http://ilga.org/
- Gay.com’s Out and About: http://www.gay.com/travel/outandabout
- Consult Out & About Travel Guides for travel tips and articles. Report cards on the “gay-friendliness” of destinations are also available.
- Travel guides, including the Lonely Planet or HostelWorld series, often include specific information for BGLTQ travelers.