Gender Identity & Sexuality
If you are trans, gender non-conforming, or genderqueer, you may be unsure of what to expect in going abroad. You may be surprised to find that the cultural context of the place you’re interested in, for example, may view gender identity as more fluid than in the U.S. On the other hand, you may need to prepare for a more rigid definition of gender and think about how to stay safe, make friends, and better understand the implications of the gender binary in various spaces. It may also be important for you to plan for the logistics and potential safety/personal boundary concerns that may arise when making your way through airport security and to public restrooms.
Are you interested in finding a program where you can be open and out about your sexuality? Or, is that less of a priority? There are countless resources on the internet (ILGA World is a great place to start) and at UNC (including queer-identified and trans staff and faculty who have traveled internationally) where you can find answers to these questions and more.
Are you concerned about your treatment in airports and security lines? Consult the resources listed on this page, particularly this LGBTQ Guide to Travel Safety.
- Will I experience gender-based discrimination in the country I study in? Who can I talk to about it if I do?
- Will there be local LGBT groups, and how are encompassing are they of the trans community?
- Is the gender on my passport different from that on my birth certificate?
- Should I correct people when they get my pronoun wrong?
- Will I have access to gender neutral bathrooms, and if not, which bathroom will I get less push-back for using?