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10 Reasons Why LGBTQ Students Should Study Abroad

Understand sexuality in different cultural contexts

Part of looking at sexuality as a student abroad is situating sexual practices and identities in their cultural contexts through meeting new people, asking questions, and observing how people interact with each other. Just like other forms of hierarchy and difference, sexuality does not manifest in the same ways across time and space. The specificity of sexuality will become more clear upon studying abroad as an LGBTQ student.

Gain perspective on your identities and perspectives

Coming out is a difficult process that solidifies identities for many LGBTQ students, and so those who are studying abroad may have acquired a strong sense of their sexualities. Being among people who identify in different ways that may or may not relate to sexuality will help you contextualize your identities. You may even enjoy foregrounding different identities in different settings, feeling more stable or more fluid depending on the constraints of your situation.

Build transnational solidarity among sexual minorities

Too often sexual empowerment is portrayed as a Western political goal that does not or should not take on a transnational life, bringing together sexual minorities in disparate locations. But in order to create a more equal and healthy sexual world it is necessary for sexual minorities to come together and build relationships of understanding and solidarity. Instead of assuming either that sexual minorities do not exist where you are traveling or that their concerns do not relate to your own, step outside of your comfort zone, find the spaces where sexual minorities are visible, and participate in those spaces for projects of collective empowerment.

Learn to be more conscious of your sexuality

LGBTQ students studying abroad may often have developed spaces where they are comfortable expressing their sexualities; while this process is necessary and constructive, it can also invest a sense of complacency in our everyday thoughts and actions. Being a sexual minority in a new place will enable you to be more frequently conscious of how you do or do not think about, express, present, and share your sexuality. While this new learning will sometimes require you to change how you make your identities visible to others, you will ultimately come away with more nuanced perceptions that can be tied to specific cultural contexts.

Connect with different social movements fighting for sexual rights

Building transnational solidarity among sexual minorities does not require participation in social movements, but such movements can be enlightening and empowering components of your study abroad experiences. While the American LGBT movement has acquired some international influence over how sexuality is made political, social movements in other contexts have different political goals and perspectives, sometimes in opposition to those in the United States. For example, gay marriage has assumed the status of a panacea in mainstream thinking about sexual rights; however, the movement for sexual rights in India has placed more emphasis on legal reform and resistance to violence. In the end, comparing different movements will help you to formulate the political goals that are most meaningful for you as an LGBTQ student.

Challenge the language of LGBTQ+

One of the first issues with which LGBTQ people in the United States often struggle is the language of LGBTQ and the labels that they carry. Similarly, the language of LGBTQ does not translate to all cultural contexts. In fact, sexual minorities in disparate locations have unique and personal ways of thinking about identities and sexualities. Learning these new languages can be as integral to your study abroad experiences as improving the languages that you’ve learned at Cornell. Perhaps you will be more aware of why you prefer the labels of LGBTQ, or these labels may become less stable in characterizing your sexuality.

Dispel stereotypes (both others’ and your own) about sexual minorities

A whole range of stereotypes about queers in different locations are proliferating through the mass media and official discourse of globalization--one is reminded of the generalizations made by American LGBT groups about homosexuality in Iran after the execution of two Iranian teenagers, Mahmoud Asgari and Ayaz Marhoni, in 2005. Through your conversations about sexuality and study abroad, you can challenge these stereotypes and offered more contextualized pictures of sexuality. You may be surprised to discover that mainstream stereotypes were helping to condition your own perceptions of sexuality.

View sexuality in the United States from different perspectives

A consequence of the mainstreaming of LGBT politics in the United States in the context of American imperial expansion is that the U.S. is constructed as a promised land for sexual minorities. However going abroad will allow you to hear others’ perceptions of the U.S. and its conditions for diverse queer groups and to see this nation on a global level. Internal and external power hierarchies founded on sexuality may become more visible, leading to new understandings of your position as a sexual minority living in the U.S.

Bring together different identities and interests for future activities

Perhaps the most astonishing experiences of being abroad is learning more about yourself, often even more than you learned about where you studied. As an LGBTQ student abroad, you will be able to integrate your sexuality with the other identities and interests that compelled you to go abroad. Hopefully, upon returning and in your future travels, you will continue this project of integration and make sexuality a major component of how you engage cross-culturally. While this certainly may include visiting new places, it can also mean providing a global context to your conversations with peers about sexuality and identity.

Educate your peers about other forms of queer world making

As briefly mentioned in the last point, a component of study abroad is communicating your better understanding of disparate locations to your friends, families, colleagues, and mentors. Don’t forget to include how queers in your study abroad destination are engaged in their varying and deeply meaningful projects of queer world-making that distinct from the world-making of American queer people. In sharing queer world-making activities, it becomes possible to connect issues of identity, language, performance, practice, behavior, and others that queers employ to produce new spatial and temporal worlds.

Suggestions for LGBTQ Students Going Abroad

Consult a variety of resources on LGBTQ life in the destinations that you will be visiting before you actually leave. Because different types of resources are useful in different ways, be creative and flexible in your searching. For example, mainstream media will provide general information on opportunities to socialize with LGBTQ people as well as tips on safety precautions. However more specialized and culturally sensitive information can be found by looking at academic literature and fiction produced by either those who hail from wherever you are going or those who do research on that location.

Look for clues as to your program staff’s attitudes toward sexuality and sexual minorities as many study abroad programs wish to be sensitive to LGBTQ issues though they are not usually built into the structure of the program. If they seem open-minded, consider asking questions about how to express your sexuality and take advantage of opportunities. Perhaps a staff member has connections to a sexuality rights organization or a locally-based researcher on an area of interest.

Try to identify individuals and groups who you can be open with about your sexuality as you become for comfortable with your living environment(s). While initially you may be most comfortable with your fellow program participants, you may be able to identify comfortable spaces for expressing your sexuality. Check out the local laws, the attitudes revealed by your host family or new friends, the images of sexuality present around you, the organizations in the area. Not all of these manifestations of sexuality will be the same, and chances are that there will be opportunities for you to engage with sexuality.

Don’t feel that it is necessary to “out” yourself in every or any context while abroad. While identifying yourself may be an empowering experience, it can also be uncomfortable, unsafe, or not understandable to those you are interacting with. You can find multiple ways of expressing your sexuality that do not necessarily involve “coming out,” ranging from challenging your attitudes or those of others, seeking out alternative media, etc.

Seek out and get to know queer communities in your location of study as many pervasively heterosexist contexts contain highly active and resistant groups of sexual minorities. Student frequently check out local gay bars but keep in mind that bars may not always be the best locations for getting acquainted with communities. That said, social spaces are good places to start in building a network of queer community contacts.

Remember that sexuality is embedded in power relations and social structures wherever you are studying just as it is in the U.S. Thus race, gender, class, etc. will intersect with sexuality, and you have a particular location in these structures as well. Something to think about in engaging with sexuality is how you are relating to queer communities abroad and how they perceive you. How does your language for sexuality differ from other languages? How are identities culturally specific? Are there transnational links between sexualities?

Reflect on what you’ve experienced in regards to sexuality and LGBTQ issues upon returning home. How do you think differently about where you’ve visited? How do you conceive of your own identity? How can you remain involved with transnational issues of sexuality? What new ideas and skills can you bring to future experiences abroad?

LGBTQ Guide to Studying Abroad

Studying Abroad can be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. It is a chance to explore the world, learn about a new culture, push your own boundaries and grow as a person. There is no doubt that this type of experience will challenge you in many ways. This handout is designed for those students who identify as LGBTQ and wish to study abroad. What does being LGBTQ in another country mean? What are the cultural norms of a particular society? Is this country right for me? Below are a few recommendations to help you make an informed decision and facilitate the transition to a new environment.

Before Heading Off

There are a few things that you may want to research before departing for your study abroad experience.

Cultural Differences with respect to LGBTQ issues

Just as seen here in the United States, attitudes and understanding of LGBTQ individuals and issues vary region by region. Cultural sensitivity is important to keep in mind while living and traveling abroad. In some places, you may not be able to express yourself as you do at home so you must be conscious of the social reality that exists in the region you are interested in while choosing your program. The best way to learn is by researching in advance. Look for blogs, newspaper articles, or books that talk about the LGBTQ attitudes abroad or see if anyone you know may be familiar with this topic. The more you know beforehand will affect how easy the transition will be upon arriving.

Legal Rights of LGBTQ individuals

Another important item to research is the legal environment surrounding LGBTQ issues. In some countries, LGBTQ individuals are protected and have just as many rights as other members of society. Unfortunately, there are other places where identifying as LGBTQ openly is punishable by law or there may be no laws to protect an individual from hate crimes. Therefore it is extremely important to know the legal regulations and conditions of a country so that you can try to avoid any problem or uncomfortable situation.

Resources that your specific program offers

With awareness across the world of LGBTQ issues on the rise, many study abroad programs have started to develop resources for LGBTQ individuals specific to their own region or program. Many times the program headquarters will have information and resources available on their websites for LGBTQ individuals, but if you would like to learn more specifically about a program, emailing the program office may uncover more useful information. You may also wish to contact a previous student from the program to see if they can tell you anything about the country in terms of LGBTQ issues.

Research the Area for other Resources

Not all programs may be as helpful or have the necessary resources that you may desire. A bit of searching on the internet can often reveal many helpful organizations and NGOs that can provide a rich insight into the conditions abroad. Start with a basic search through blogs and social networking sites and go from there.

While Abroad

Homestays/Housing

Your living arrangement while abroad will differ by program. No matter where you are staying, you should feel safe and comfortable at all times. It is up to you to decide whether to openly express yourself, but be sure to think of all of the consequences that this action could have before acting. If staying with a homestay family, ask yourself if you feel the family would be accepting or what kind of change in the family dynamic would occur if you chose to come out. It is important to be sensitive to the various cultural practices across the world, and this may mean not being able to be as open about your sexuality as you are at home. You may wish to talk to the housing director of your program to see if they can put you with a family they know would be accepting, or if any problems arise during your time with a family, speak up and don’t be afraid to ask for a change in living arrangements. You should feel at home wherever you stay at while abroad and the study abroad program should try to make you as comfortable as possible.

Relationships

It is important to be self-conscious of the way you interact with people while abroad. Whether it is with friends or people you may be interested in dating; body language, verbal cues and the manner you compose yourself may be interpreted differently abroad than it is at home. Something can elicit a completely different response than you expect, so be aware of this and try to learn the particular customs of your region. The way in which LGBTQ individuals interact may be different also depending on the part of the world and this can affect how open they can be. Take this into consideration if you meet someone and pursue a relationship. Also be sure to always practice safe sex and be aware of any sexual health resources that may be available to you.

Support Networks and Safety

Having a support network while abroad is extremely helpful. Whether it is because you miss your home, are suffering through culture shock, or are having issues being LGBTQ in the country, a support network will help you cope with your issues and can guide you in times of need. Try to make some friends that you can talk with on the program or even open up to a member of the program faculty. Meeting people in the country also can be helpful when you feel lost or confused, so try to get out and immerse yourself in the culture. Having support includes having safe places that you can identify across the region. Whether it is police stations, the program headquarters, or an organizations office, know at all times where they are located because safety is extremely important and you should have a plan of action if the need were to arise.

Questions LGBTQ students should consider when making the decision to study abroad:

About Me

  • How open will I be about my sexual orientation and gender identity with my teachers, peers, friends, host family and others?
  • How important is it to me to find other sexual minority students and friends while abroad? How will I make connections with other sexual minority students, local residents, or community organizations and gathering places? How will I make connections with others regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity in my host country? What are my expectations about seeking and finding community?
  • Will I need access to any medications, supplies, or services due to my transgender status? Are they available in my host country? If not, will I need any additional documentation to travel with my medication or supplies?
  • What are my safety needs and perceptions, and how can they best be met? Is the program able to make special accommodations for students who request single rooms, private baths, or certain roommates?
  • What resources are available in my host country for sexual minority people?
  • Are there any LGBT-friendly establishments nearby? How can I find them?

About Sexuality and Gender

  • What are the cultural attitudes towards sexual orientation and gender identity in my host country?
  • What is considered typical male and female social behavior and customary gender relations and social patterns in the host country?
  • What may make the coming out process different in the host country compared to the U.S.?
  • What are the norms and behavioral expectations within the LGBT communities in my host country?
  • What is the social perception of lesbian, gay, and bisexual people in my host country? How are LGBT people socially defined? What roles do transgender people play in the host culture?

About the Law and Local Attitudes

  • Are there “public decency” laws? Or “public indecency” laws?
  • What is the age of consent? Does it differ for heterosexual versus same-sex couples?
  • Does the law require having “proper documentation” at all times?
  • What is the police attitude towards the local LGBT community?
  • Is the law applied the same to “upper class” and “working class” LGBT people?
  • Is the law applied the same in urban areas as in rural areas?

About Citizenship and LGBT Perception

  • What is the attitude of local residents toward Americans, people of other nationalities, “tourists,” LGBT “tourists”?
  • What is the police attitude towards local residents, Americans, or people of other nationalities?
  • What is the police attitude towards LGBT “tourists” who are visiting the country?

Learn the laws of your host country regarding LGBT issues, same-sex sexual behavior, and expressions of LGBT identity and community

You are required to follow the law in your host country. Once outside the United States you are no longer protected by U.S. laws. If same-sex acts are illegal in your host country and you are caught engaging in them (or presumed to have engaged in them), you could be arrested and imprisoned in that country. In some countries, the penalties are very severe and can even include deportation, corporal punishments, and execution. And just as in the U.S., in some countries, regions, and municipalities you can be legally detained or discriminated against whether you are actually LGBT or merely perceived to be lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender. Be familiar with local laws and customs so you can make informed and safe choices about destinations and programs which will be the best fit for you and your needs.

Get to know your destination

Explore LGBT travel guides and internet resources. Talk with other LGBT and allied people about their experiences in certain countries or regions to gather as much information as possible upon which to make your choices and decisions. Once in your host country, find out what local newspapers, magazines or online resources may be available.

Context is everything; similar expressions or behaviors may have vastly different meanings in different places 

In some locations when you are outside distinct gay 'neighborhoods' or specific vacation or resort facilities, open expressions of your sexual orientation might be frowned upon. In some other areas or the world, expressions of friendship may be quite different than those expressed among your U.S. peers and cause you to experience confusion or uncertainty about who may or may not be LGBT. Find out about attitudes and customs in your host country so you can read the local “road-map” of human interaction and expression like an experienced pro.

Avoid potentially risky situations

Be aware of your environment, stay alert and in control.

Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security

Be aware that criminals have been known to exploit the generally open and relaxed nature of gay 'neighborhoods' and beaches; and like it or not, not all LGBT people are trustworthy and kind. Don't leave your belongings unattended and try not to carry large amounts of money around with you. Make good choices about your personal property and your personal trust.

No matter what your sexual orientation, it’s important to think about your sexual health before you leave 

Be prepared both mentally and physically – some sexual health products are not as readily available abroad as they are in the United States, and quality and dosages can differ. Conversely, in some other countries, you may be surprised or shocked by the easy and open manner in which people talk about and obtain information and supplies pertaining to sexual health. Always practice safe sex.

LGBTQ Students Studying Abroad: Print Resources


All of the books listed are widely available. In the selection process, emphasis has been placed on books that examine Western constructions of sexuality, foreground cross-cultural interactions, and/or feature the voices of sexual minorities in different local contexts. Some are academic, coming from sociology, anthropology, literary studies, and other disciplines, and some are more casual. In addition, a few examples of gay and lesbian travel guides have been provided through these publications have dominated transnational engagements with sexualities. Thus it would be helpful to look at some of these authors’ critiques of gay tourism. Ultimately, this list should be taken as provisional--most of these books suggest a wider range of literature that can be discovered by LGBTQ students preparing for study abroad.

General Resources

Wonderlands: Good Gay Travel Writing, Edited by Raphael Kadushin, 2004
Avoiding gay travel writing’s trope of touring gay sex hotspots abroad, Wonderlands brings together gay men’s experiences of travel, eroticism, and cross-cultural engagement in a variety of locations. Many of the pieces are written by well-known gay writers like Edmund White, and so the writing will prove to be both informative and enjoyable for LGBTQ travelers. One small criticism is that all of the pieces are by gay male authors, thereby maintaining the historical exclusion of queer women’s voices from conversations about travel.

The Global Emergence of Gay and Lesbian Politics: National Imprints of a Worldwide Movement, Edited by Barry D. Adam, Jan Willem Duyvendak, and André Krouwel, 1999 (Gould Library)
Like many discussions of LGBTQ politics and social movements, this book primarily focuses on Western queer mobilizations, thereby calling in question its claim of representing a “global emergence of gay and lesbian politics.” Yet its extensive documentation in North America, Europe, Australia, and even South America and Southern Africa will be useful for travelers who want to study or participate in LGBTQ movements while abroad. In addition, readers may gain a sense of the connections between different national movements in terms of ideology and practice.

Queer Globalizations: Citizenship and the Afterlife of Colonialism, Edited by Arnaldo Cruz-Malavé and Martin F. Manalansan IV, 2002
Bringing together different scholars of transnational and diasporic queer studies, Queer Globalizations is a great introduction to academia’s and activism’s explorations of Western gay perspectives, corporate globalization and consumption, and queer subjects and resistances in the Two-Thirds world. The book’s language is more specialized and complicated than others in this list, but its arguments are often quite sophisticated and relevant to experiences of LGBTQ travelers. If you’re taking a gay travel guide, don’t leave this book behind!

Global Sex, By Dennis Altman, 2002
From HIV/AIDS to sex work to neoconservative “moral panics,” Altman, an Australian activist who initially wrote about the American gay liberation movement in the 1970s, discusses various issues that have come about with the globalization of sex and sexuality. In particular, he is able to tie sexuality with economic and political processes with examples that are clearer than those used by other writers working in the field of transnational sexuality. LGBTQ student travelers will find a thorough and engaging if politically cautious introduction to global sex on micro- and macro-levels in this volume.

Speaking in Queer Tongues: Globalization and Gay Language, Edited by William L. Leap and Tom Boellstorff, 2004
Given that language is a fundamental component of many study abroad programs, it seems that Leap and Boellstorff’s compilation of articles on the negotiations between dominant gay languages and the languages of sexual minorities in different nations would be useful for LGBTQ student travelers. Moreover, language is one of the most powerful organizing tools of LGBTQ people in the U.S., making cultural contextualization a valuable process for LGBTQ readers. Falling into the domain of transnational sexuality studies, this book is careful to address questions of mobility, hybridity, hierarchy, and difference.

Spartacus International Gay Guide 2008, By Bruno Gmunder, 2008
Probably the most extensive of international gay guides, Spartacus will lead you to all the beaches, clubs, and hotels that offer a friendly atmosphere for LGBTQ travelers. As indicated by its front cover, its major focus is gay men, and it is mostly concerned with well-priced social activities. Nonetheless, it will have some useful recommendations for LGBTQ student travelers who want to safely experience some of the social and cultural worlds that different destinations hold.

Lavender Lodging: A Travel Companion for Women, By Susan Press, 2005
The majority of gay travel guides focus on resources and advice for gay male travelers, making this guide extremely useful for queer female students going abroad. Enjoying travel safely is particularly difficult for all women travelers, but this guide will lead students to women-owned businesses as well as activities that are welcoming of female travelers. Having some of these resources at hand will make it easier for female LGBTQ student travelers to engage with cross-cultural sexuality.

Frommer’s Gay and Lesbian Europe, 2003
Taking a similar focus as the Spartacus guides, this book offers more specific and little-known recommendations for LGBTQ travelers going to Europe, especially those who want to venture away from gay hotspots like Amsterdam. While the guide seems to offer some tips for lesbian travelers, it is sure, like most gay travel guides, to ignore the needs and interests of transgender and intersex travelers. Some sifting and close reading will certainly be necessary!

Miller, Neil. Out in the World: Gay and Lesbian Life from Buenos Aires to Bangkok. 1992

Pierce, Heather & Carol Wishik. Sexual Orientation and Identity: Heterosexual, Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Journeys. 1995

Africa

Boy-Wives and Female Husbands: Studies of African Homosexualities, Edited by Stephen O. Murray and Will Roscoe, 2001
Roscoe and Murray, who are well-known scholars of cross-cultural sexualities, have produced the first thorough compilation of documentation of same-sex sexual practices in scattered parts of the African continent. Countering the myth that these practices either do not exist or are solely Western imports, they use historical documents and contemporary ethnographic information to explore different manifestations of alternative sexualities. A weakness of the book, and of this field more generally, is the lack of African scholarship and/or testimony represented.

Asia

Queering India: Same-Sex Love in Indian Culture and Society, Edited by Ruth Vanita, 2001
A revolutionary in speaking about alternative sexuality in Indian cultural expressions and historical contexts, Ruth Vanita here represents different historical and contemporary discussions of queerness in India. Not only are the articles accessible, but the writers come from a variety of disciplines and perspectives. Although this book is one of her best, check out the other studies that Vanita has released on these topics.

Queer Voices from Japan: First-Person Narratives From Japan’s Sexual Minorities, Edited by Mark McLelland, Katsuhiko Suganuma, and James Welker, 2007
Because first-person testimony is usually absent from studies of transnational sexuality unless under the gaze of anthropology, this collection of narratives and others like it are important to discover in preparing for study abroad. Too often it is assumed that sexual minorities outside of Western nations are completely oppressed and/or invisible, but LGBTQ readers will come away from this book with a more subtle awareness of the situations of sexual minorities in Japan. McLelland has published other books on Japanese sexualities in different historical contexts that may be worth investigating.

The Emerging Lesbian: Female Same-Sex Desire in Modern China, By Tze-Lan D. Sang, 2003
While The Emerging Lesbian is quite historical, reaching as far back as 1600, its ultimate research question is why intimate relationships between women more explicitly entered conversations in the public sphere of twentieth-century. By tying her conclusions to the formation of Chinese modernity, Sang addresses the concern with modernity that is vexing many nations today. Finally, in a field that overwhelmingly privileges sexualities between men, this book is unique in foregrounding female sexualities and their connections with female emancipation and feminist movements.

Sites of Desire/Economies of Pleasure: Sexualities in Asia and the Pacific, Edited by Lenore Manderson and Margaret Jolly, 1997
While other books on this list have focused on East and South Asian nations, Sites of Desire/Economies of Pleasure is especially useful in its coverage of sexualities in Southeast Asian and Oceanic locations like Thailand, the Philippines, and Papua New Guinea. Participating in and also moving away from anthropological understandings of sexual practices and identities in the Two-Thirds world, the book looks at histories, politics, and economies as well as cultures. Exoticizing fantasies of “the Orient” are taken as a point of departure for the articles.

Gay and Lesbian Asia: Culture, Identity, and Community, By Gerard Sullivan and Peter A. Jackson, 2001

AsiaPacifiQueer: Rethinking Genders and Sexualities, By Fran Martin, 2008

Latin America and the Caribbean

The Night is Young: Sexuality in Mexico in the Time of AIDS, By Hector Carrillo, 2001
Amidst a range of books on same-sex sexuality in Mexico that over-generalize and ignore power hierarchies between Western researchers and queer people living in the Two-Thirds world, this book is refreshingly nuanced and contextualized. Carrillo, a Mexican-born ethnographer, looks at configurations of gender and sexuality in Guadalajara as they interact with HIV/AIDS prevention models and strategies. Given the disproportionate prevalence of HIV/AIDS among sexual minorities in many nations of the Two-Thirds world, it will often be important for LGBTQ travelers to use the epidemic as one framework for understanding sexuality abroad.

Tongues on Fire: Caribbean Lesbian Lives and Stories, Rosamund Elwin, 1997
is unique amidst these books in many respects. Rather than a scholarly study, it compiles the writings and life stories of Caribbean queer women in different locations, thus challenging the Tongues On Fire andocentrism of portrayals of same-sex sexuality in the Two-Thirds World. Also readers will get some sense of both the Caribbean as a location and as a diaspora with ramifications for sexual practices and identities. Some of the contributors are well-known authors, while others are writing for the first time.

Tropics of Desire: Interventions From Queer Latino America, By Jose Quiroga, 2000
Challenging the constructions of Latin America that LGBTQ student travelers will find in most gay travel guides, Quiroga primarily looks at cultural productions within the scholarly framework of transnational sexuality studies to demonstrate the political agency of queer people in Latin America. Unlike some of the previously listed books, Tropics of Desire uses Latin America as a site of analysis, perhaps allowing for some innovative transnational and diasporic links. An acknowledged pitfall of the book is its omission of queer female interventions.

Reading and Writing the Ambiente: Queer Sexualities in Latino, Latin American, and Spanish Culture, By Susana Chávez-Silverman and Librada Hernández, 2000.

Europe

Queer in Russia: A Story of Sex, Self, and the Other, By Laurie Essig, 1999
The preponderance of cross-cultural engagement with sexuality in Two-Thirds world locations makes this sociological study of queer sexualities in Russia a refreshing break. Essig argues that criminalization of homosexuality has been internalized by sexual minorities, despite Putin’s 1993 decriminalization of consensual sex between same-sex adults. The book is both journalistic and theoretical, offering readers a range of literary modes in which to access the book.

The Middle East and North Africa

Gay Travels in the Muslim World, Edited by Michael T. Luongo, 2007
This collection of informal reflective and narrative writings looks at the experiences of same-sex sexuality among non-Muslim and Muslim men in different parts of the Muslim world. While Luongo has primarily written for travel guides in the past, this book aims to move beyond the perspectives of paranoia and tourism that have dominated explorations of Islam and sexuality. Given media constructions of persecution of homosexuality in Muslim nations, this book’s nuances and corrections will be informative for LGBTQ travelers.

Queer Nations: Marginal Sexualities in the Maghreb, Jarrod Hayes, 2000
Readings of Maghrebian novels and other writings from the core of Haye’s analysis of how marginal sexualities do and do not fit into nation-building projects of the Maghreb region, consisting today of Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco. Literary analysis is a new approach taken amongst the books listed here, and in addition, the Maghreb is a vastly under-studied, yet extremely complicated set of places in this field. As more and more study abroad offices send groups to North African and Middle Eastern locales, it will be imperative for LGBTQ student travelers to move beyond post-9/11 paranoia and sensationalism in looking at these sexual formations.

Australia

Australian Gay and Lesbian Writing: An Anthology, Edited by Robert Dessaix, 1993
The vibrancy of the Australian gay movement would suggest that this anthology of creative writing is worth perusing before traveling to the continent. It spans historical contexts from the colonial period to the present, showing the development of gay and lesbian perspectives. However, given the racial and economic hierarchies dominant in Australia, readers should be on the lookout for which voices are represented and labeled as “gay” and “lesbian” here.