GLBT Handouts One – Pre-Departure Advising

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NAFSA Conference 2001
Same Sex –Different Cultures: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Issues Abroad
Philadelphia, PA      5/29/01
Handout prepared by: Eero Jesurun, CIEE
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Helping to Understand GLBT Student Issues in Latin America and the Caribbean:

1)      Sexuality and Gender Stereotypes: 

  • What are gender relations in the host culture?
  • What is considered typical male and female social behavior in the host culture?
  • What makes the “coming out” process different in many Latin American countries?
  • What is the social role of machismo and marianismo in the host culture?
  • What is the social perception of gays and lesbians? How are they socially defined?
  • What roles do transgendered people play in the host culture? For example, in Brazil the social role and definition of travesti (not to be confused with “transvestite”) is different from U.S. cultural norms.
  • What is the difference between sexuality and sensuality in the host culture?

 2)      Law and Local Attitudes: “Legal but not Legal?” 

  • Are there “public decency” laws? Or “public indecency” laws?
  • Are there laws related to sex with minors? What is the cut-off age for minors?
  • Are there “vagrancy” laws?
  • Does the law require having “proper documentation” at all times?
  • What is the police attitude towards the local GLBT community?
  • Does the law apply the same to “upper class” and “working class” gays?
  • Does the law apply the same in urban areas (cities) as in rural, in-country areas?
  • Are there divorce laws? For example, Chile does not have a divorce law and this impacts social relations and perceptions.

 3)      Citizenship and GLBT Perception: Color, Gender and Nationality of Locals  

  • Could the GLBT student be perceived as a local and not as an “American”?
  • Could the GLBT student’s skin color create a perception that the student is a local?
  • Could the GLBT student’s dress style and/or jewelry create a perception of being a local?
  • Could the GLBT student’s hairstyle and hair color create a perception that s/he is a local?
  • Could the GLBT student’s language fluency create a perception that student is a local?
  • What is the police attitude towards locals, Americans, or other nationalities?
  • What is the police attitude towards GLBT “tourists” who are visiting the country?

 

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