It is crucial to recognize that attitudes towards sexuality and gender vary across cultures. Learn about the political situation and social attitudes regarding LGBTQ issues in your desired destination(s) so that your choices in studying abroad are informed. Being knowledgeable of sexual identity issues and how this will affect interactions with host nationals will allow you to have a rewarding and safe international experience.
Sexuality is highly policed in many states, especially outside of Europe and the Americas, so those who do not conform to heterosexual standards may be subject to persecution. Generally speaking, countries in Africa, the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent tend to have harsher punishments for homosexuality.
The countries with the most progressive laws regarding homosexuality (this includes marriage, civil union, protection against hate crimes, adoption rights, etc.) are western European countries, some South American states, Canada, Japan, South Africa and Australia. In the United States, homosexuality is legal in every state, as the last of the sodomy laws was struck down by the Supreme Court in 2003.
Some societies are more accepting of trans people than in the West, and travelers to countries like Thailand may find cultures accepting of a third gender.
For more information on the homosexuality laws of specific countries, please refer to the following websites: