Some Suggestions for study abroad offices:
(Handout from “We Don’t Have Those Where I Come From: GLBT Issues in an Intercultural Context” NAFSA Region VI Annual Conference, 8 November, 2004, prepared by Kevin Morrison, Earlham College)
IN THE OFF-CAMPUS STUDY OFFICE
Create a LGBT friendly environment for students by:
- Prominently displaying “Safe Zone”, rainbow or pink triangle stickers to signal that your office is LGBT friendly.
- Applications have a non-discrimination statement that includes sexual orientation
- Maintain a file of LGBT resources (articles on local LGBT life, lists of organizations, pamphlets, etc.)
- As possible, support LGBT events and programming on your campus. This can be done either through attendance, cooperation, co-sponsorship, etc.
- Provide links to LGBT sites on office web pages.
Maintain Resources for LGBT students in your Off-Campus Study Library, some suggestions include:
- Provide LGBT travel guides in addition to other guidebooks (or have comprehensive travel guides that are LBGT friendly such as the “Let’s Go” series).
- Have detailed information on LGBT resources available in cities/countries where you have programs
Prepare LGBT inclusive orientation materials:
- Pre-departure handbooks include information about LGBT issues, both social and legal.
- Provide a separate pre-departure handbook designed for LGBT participants in off-campus study.
- Bibliographies for preparation include LGBT books and articles.
- Lists of useful on-site resources include LGBT resources.
Include LGBT Issues in orientation sessions:
- Discuss identity and cultural issues, include how different cultures might view sexual and gender orientation.
- Invite returned LGBT students to share their experiences with students.
- Include a session on dating and sexuality for all students; be inclusive of all sexual orientations when discussing relationship and safe sex issues.
- Invite students to discuss or consider issues surrounding coming out or being out in the host country.
Actively seek out LGBT students as participants for off-campus study:
- Send an invitation to the college or university’s LGBT group or resource center mailing list, encouraging students to come in and discuss any concerns about education abroad.
- Plan a program/information session on LGBT issues in study abroad. (Get the local campus LGBT organization to help you co-plan this event and/or hold it during your campus’ pride week.)
AT THE PROGRAM SITE
Provide appropriate training and resources for directors and staff:
- Give program directors a guide that addresses LGBT issues, and welcoming gay culture.
- If a self-identified LGBT student is participating in a program, the Director should be made aware in advance.
- Director’s manual should include information concerning coming out issues.
- Maintain an up-to-date list of local LGBT resources, information services, and hotlines available in the host site area.
- Create an LGBT friendly environment in the on-site program office (see above).
- Invite a speaker from a local LGBT group or a local person familiar with LGBT and sexuality issues in the host culture to speak to students during on-site orientation or semester.
- Maintain a list of LGBT friendly courses in the curriculum (gender studies, anthropology, etc.).