__MAIN_TEXT__

Page 1

RAINBOW SIG

NEWSLETTER

Volume 25, Number 2, Spring 2019

The Rainbow Newsletter is published once a semester by the Rainbow Special Interest Group (SIG) of NAFSA: Association of International Educators. The Rainbow SIG is comprised of diverse NAFSAns whose goals are to combat homophobia, heterosexism, and transphobia within NAFSA, to counsel international students and study abroad students who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, and to support gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender professionals in international education.

In T his Edi tio n:

đ&#x;Œˆđ&#x;Œˆ Introducing the 2019-2020 FEA Rainbow Scholars & Named Rainbow Scholarships (pg. 3) đ&#x;Œˆđ&#x;Œˆ Unpacking the American Rainbow Knapsack – Homonationalism and Education Abroad (pg. 5) đ&#x;Œˆđ&#x;Œˆ What a Difference an (International) Ally Makes! (pg. 7) đ&#x;Œˆđ&#x;Œˆ Inside Thailand’s Ladyboy Culture (pg. 9) đ&#x;Œˆđ&#x;Œˆ Promoting Sexual and Gender Diversity at a Japanese University (pg. 11) đ&#x;Œˆđ&#x;Œˆ Accountability in International Education (pg. 12) đ&#x;Œˆđ&#x;Œˆ Virtual Answers to Real Problems: Mapping Open Access to Experiential Education (pg. 14) đ&#x;Œˆđ&#x;Œˆ 5 Things to know about LGBTQIA+ Culture in Italy (pg. 16) đ&#x;Œˆđ&#x;Œˆ My Global Identity: Developing Travel Resources for LGBTQIA+ Students at Northeastern (pg. 18) đ&#x;Œˆđ&#x;Œˆ Considering LGBTQ Lives Worldwide for NYC’s WorldPride/Stonewall 50 (pg. 20) đ&#x;Œˆđ&#x;Œˆ Rainbow Leadership and Regional Representation (pg. 22)

V O L U M E 2 5 , N U M B E R 2 , S P R I N G 2 019


RAINBOW SIG G E T I N V O LV E D! Subscribe: to the Rainbow SIG Listserv by completing the online form. Like: Join the private Rainbow SIG Group on Facebook Give: Donate to the Rainbow Scholarship (pg. 5) Reach Out: Email the listserv by sending your message to: rainbow-l@indiana.edu Contribute: Submit content for the Rainbow SIG Newsletter (Call for Articles via Listserv) Represent: Volunteer to become a NAFSA Rainbow SIG Regional Rep

C onnec t with the Rainb ow SIG at NAFS A in D C! May 29 - June 2, 2019 Open Annual Meeting and Elections - Marriott Marquis, University DC Room Wednesday, May 29th (1:00 pm-2:00 pm) Rainbow SIG Reception at Pitchers DC/A League of Her Own - 2317 18th Street NW, DC 20009 Wednesday, May 29th (8:00 pm - 11:30 pm) Call for Nominations Do you know someone who would be great for Rainbow SIG leadership? Nominations are still open for the following positions on our team. Open positions for these 2 year commitments include: - Co-Chair - Newsletter Co-Editor - Web Content Co-Manager - Scholarship Co-Coordinator -Regional SIG Reps Elections will be held during the Annual Open Business Meeting on Wed., May 29th, 1 pm-2 pm. For a description of duties, please visit the Rainbow SIG Governance page of our website. These are great opportunities to develop leadership skills, build your rĂŠsumĂŠ, and get exposure in our professional community. Please send your nominations to Murphy Scott (murphy@insituprograms.org). Each nomination should include the name of the nominee, email address, and a short paragraph detailing why they would be good for the role. Note: Please, make sure all nominees are interested in the position.

V O L U M E 2 5 , N U M B E R 2 , S P R I N G 2 0 1 9

PAG E 2


RAINBOW SIG I N T R O D U C I N G T H E 2 0 1 9 -2 0 2 0 F E A R A I N B O W SCHOL ARS & NAMED RAINBOW SCHOL ARSHIPS

Lyndsi Jones, Communications and Outreach Coordinator, Fund for Education Abroad What is the FEA Rainbow Scholarship?

The FEA Rainbow Scholarship is awarded to deserving LGBTQI students who aim to participate in a highquality, rigorous education abroad program. It is made possible by the generous support of international education professionals who are committed to advocating on behalf of LGBTQI students (YOU!). These professionals counsel international and study abroad LGBTQI students and support their LGBTQI colleagues in the field. The Rainbow Scholarship was FEA’s first dedicated scholarship—which means it is the longest lasting dedicated scholarship at FEA to date! In its history, over $83,000 have been donated to the Rainbow Scholarship Fund. How was the Rainbow Scholarship founded? In 2012, the Rainbow SIG community came together with the help of Bo Keppel, who wanted to initiate a scholarship in memory of Dave Burkhart, who traveled the world for work and believed strongly in helping others less fortunate around the world. The first Rainbow Scholar studied abroad in the 2012-2013 academic year, and this year, FEA was able to award five Rainbow Scholarships. In 2018, FEA introduced opportunities to name Rainbow Scholars as part of its Bringing the World Home campaign, raising an additional $25,000 to be disbursed over the next five years through the Jan Kieling Rainbow Scholarship and the Kacenga-Cladera Family Rainbow Scholarship, bringing the effort well over $100,000 disbursed. Who are the 2019-2020 FEA Scholars? Reynaldo Bujan is a junior from Phoenix College in AZ, studying Physiology and Psychology. He is studying in the UK and France this Summer with Mesa Community College. His goals are: đ&#x;Œˆ To create and develop interpersonal and social interaction skills đ&#x;Œˆ To broaden my perspectives and understanding of the world’s cultures đ&#x;Œˆ To nourish myself with the beauty and history of other countries

đ&#x;Œˆ đ&#x;Œˆ đ&#x;Œˆ

V O L U M E 2 5 , N U M B E R 2 , S P R I N G 2 0 1 9

PAG E 3


RAINBOW SIG Ingnacio Carmona is a sophomore from the University of Texas at Austin, studying Architectural Engineering. He is studying in Milan, Italy this summer through IES Abroad. His goals are: đ&#x;Œˆ To see all the buildings covered in my architecture class đ&#x;Œˆ To take an Italian cooking class đ&#x;Œˆ To create new friendships

đ&#x;Œˆ đ&#x;Œˆ đ&#x;Œˆ

Ariana Davis is a Junior from Temple University in PA, studying Psychology and Spanish. She is studying in Havana, Cuba this Summer through Arcadia University. Her goals are: đ&#x;Œˆ To further my Spanish speaking skills đ&#x;Œˆ To experience a new culture đ&#x;Œˆ To learn about culture and identity abroad

đ&#x;Œˆ đ&#x;Œˆ đ&#x;Œˆ

Darren De Leon is a junior from the University of California, Irvine, studying Political Science and International Studies. He is studying in London, England this Fall through UCEAP. His goals are: đ&#x;Œˆ To eat good food đ&#x;Œˆ To go to a lot of museums đ&#x;Œˆ To use the public transit

đ&#x;Œˆ đ&#x;Œˆ đ&#x;Œˆ

Oluwaseun Oshodi is a junior from Pitzer College in CA, studying Japanese Language, Culture, and Business. She is studying in Nishinomiya, Japan this Fall at Kwansei Gakuin University. Her goals are: đ&#x;Œˆ To become completely fluent in Japanese đ&#x;Œˆ To learn more about myself đ&#x;Œˆ To finish my senior thesis on the Japanese economy

đ&#x;Œˆ đ&#x;Œˆ đ&#x;Œˆ

The Jan Kieling Rainbow Scholarship Jan Kieling, a member of FEA’s Board of Trustees, recently funded a named scholarship that also supports LGBTQI students in their study abroad pursuits. The Jan Kieling Rainbow Scholarship will fund one summer scholarship for five years, beginning Summer 2019. Thank you, Jan! Who is the first Jan Kieling Rainbow Scholar? Alexis Llamas is a sophomore from the University of California, Berkeley, studying Computer Science and Mathematics. He is studying in Berlin, Germany this Summer with UC Berkeley Summer Abroad. His goals are: đ&#x;Œˆ To visit historic sites đ&#x;Œˆ To immerse myself in German culture đ&#x;Œˆ Personal growth

đ&#x;Œˆ đ&#x;Œˆ đ&#x;Œˆ

V O L U M E 2 5 , N U M B E R 2 , S P R I N G 2 0 1 9

PAG E 4


RAINBOW SIG The Kacenga-Cladera Family Rainbow Scholarship FEA is delighted to announce our newest scholarship to support LGBTQI students, funded by long-time FEA supporter and friend, George Kacenga and his husband, Andrés Cladera. The Kacenga-Cladera Family Rainbow Scholarship will fund one student with a summer study abroad scholarship each of the next five years, beginning Summer 2020. The support of the Rainbow SIG community has made it possible for FEA to fund a total of 20 Rainbow Scholars with the assurance of funding many more! If you would like to explore opportunities to support the Rainbow Scholarship and the students it has funded, visit: www.fundforeducationabroad.org. If you would like to learn more about naming a Rainbow Scholarship for yourself or someone dear to you as part of FEA’s Bringing the World Home campaign, please contact Executive Director, Jennifer Calvert at jcalvert@fundforeducationabroad.org or 202.349.7487.

Donate to FEA Rainbow Scholarship

U N PAC K I N G T H E A M ERI C A N R A I N B OW K N A P S AC K – H O M O N AT I O N A L I S M A N D E D U C AT I O N A B R O A D

Lauren (Lo) Chow, Education Abroad Advisor, Babson College

A while back, I was browsing a resource that named the “best” and “worst” destinations for LGBTQ+ students to study abroad. As I looked down the “best” list, I saw many European countries like Denmark and Spain. When I turned my attention to the “worst,” a familiar image of the Petronas Towers caught my eye: Malaysia had made the top of the list. As a queer American who called a rural, very conservative area of Malaysia home for two years, I felt conflicted. I understood, on one level, why the country had been placed on this list – but on another level, something felt off to me. I later learned about a concept called homonationalism, coined by scholar Jasbir Puar in 2007 to describe the intersection of nationalist/xenophobic sentiments with LGBTQ+ movements that paint certain societies (usually associated with the Global South and/or Islam) as backwards and homophobic in comparison to a (supposedly) completely egalitarian Western/White society. A 2016 Al Jazeera article on the subject, for example, showed how Donald Trump used the Orlando attacks as fodder to stoke anti-Muslim sentiments in the name of LGBTQ+ rights. Something clicked once I realized what had bothered me not only about the specific example I shared above, or even in the education abroad field, but also about a growing trend I was seeing in our country as a whole.

V O L U M E 2 5 , N U M B E R 2 , S P R I N G 2 0 1 9

PAG E 5


RAINBOW SIG Take the recent example of Brunei’s anti-LGBTQ+ laws that were passed in March, drawing international criticism. These events are certainly concerning for the LGBTQ+ community. However, there is more context to this complex situation in Brunei that many miss: The Guardian, after interviewing several Bruneians, reported “a feeling of indignation that the international coverage has skewed perceptions of their country that detract from what they see as its attributes – a strong education and healthcare system, and no income tax. Typically proud of their nation, Bruneians also worry about the economic repercussions, even those who identify as LGBT.” When we condemn an entire nation and its people – including those who are LGBTQ+ themselves – as backwards and homophobic, what are we missing? What about the fact that many countries’ anti-LGBT laws actually stem from a history of colonialism by the very Western countries that are today uplifted as “progressive” and “LGBT-friendly”? When this news was hot with the press, I received a message from one of my former students in Malaysia, Brunei’s neighboring country. She was upset about Americans’ treatment of people in her part of the world and felt misunderstood. “Ellen DeGeneres is using her social media influence to boycott Brunei hotels,” she wrote to me. “I am really disappointed with the word ‘terrorism.’ I want to show people what Muslim really is.” All of this being said, I do not in any way want to diminish the importance of the very real health and safety concerns that LGBTQ+ students face abroad. Advising students for the realities of the way they may need to change the way they talk about LGBTQ+ issues, potentially being closeted, and other considerations all deserve our utmost attention. But, let us also be wary of the currents of homonationalism that stream through today’s political climate and strive to understand our positionality in the world. Let us recognize that there is valuable learning to be done in many places, and that there exist local LGBTQ+ people in every corner of the globe – and local LGBTQ+ activists in those countries whose work we should not ignore. Let us not erase the intersectional identities of our students, many of whom are people of color, Muslim, international, and other identities in addition to being LGBTQ+. Because as international educators, we owe it to our students and to the world to strive for a nuanced and respectful understanding of the places that we are – and aren’t – sending students.

V O L U M E 2 5 , N U M B E R 2 , S P R I N G 2 0 1 9

PAG E 6


RAINBOW SIG TAKEAWAYS:

đ&#x;Œˆđ&#x;Œˆ AVOIDING STEREOTYPES: In our messaging around education abroad, are we unintentionally perpetuating a narrative that all people in predominantly non-white countries are homophobic, or that an entire country has a uniform LGBTQ+ climate?

đ&#x;Œˆđ&#x;Œˆ LANGUAGE: LGBTQ+ issues are already associated with a rapidly changing lexicon and buzzwords within

American English that can be hard to keep up with; how does this translate to other places that speak a different variety of English, let alone another language altogether? How can we then prepare students for a context that may not use the same words to describe LGBTQ+ issues as they may be accustomed to?

đ&#x;Œˆđ&#x;Œˆ TURNING

THE MIRROR ON OURSELVES: When assessing supposed LGBTQ+ “friendliness� in other cultures, have we considered the influence and history of Western colonialism and how this affects today’s laws and global political climate? Have we looked inwards and reflected on the LGBTQ+ “friendliness� - or lack thereof - within different areas of the United States, and how assetbased advising can recognize the strengths and skills that students may already bring to the table?

W H AT A D I F F E R E N C E A N (I N T E R N AT I O N A L ) A L LY M A K E S!

Ira Kirschner, Assistant Director, University of Kansas Hillel

(Ira worked as the Diversity & Inclusion Officer at the Rothberg International School at Hebrew University of Jerusalem, 2016-2019) I created and ran the LGBTQ+ student resources orientations for incoming international students at HebrewU for three years. The orientations introduced new students to the local Israeli context regarding LGBTQ+ legal status, social and culture norms, safety of different cities and general tips about health and wellbeing. I would begin the orientations by introducing myself and stating that students are welcome, but not required, to share their own queer identity. Some did, some didn’t, and that’s great!

V O L U M E 2 5 , N U M B E R 2 , S P R I N G 2 0 1 9

PAG E 7


RAINBOW SIG The orientation I ran in August 2018 went a little differently than usual. During the introductions, one of the students introduced himself and then identified as “curious”. After a brief awkward silence and right before I was going to commend him for bravely sharing that he was exploring his sexual identity, he blushed and quickly corrected himself – he was not curious “that way”, but rather curious about the resources that we were offering his LGBTQ+ peers, as he identifies as a straight ally. The friend that was sitting next to him shared that sentiment. We laughed about the misunderstanding, continued with the introductions, and then with the orientation. But throughout the orientation, I couldn’t stop thinking about what had transpired. The truth was, I was blown away. Perhaps I was naïve, but I had yet to be exposed to that level of allyship. The form of support I was used to was more passive – students not objecting, or even supporting the fact that an orientation is taking place for their friends. In my eyes, making the effort to attend the LGBTQ+ orientation, despite it taking place during time that could be used for homework, relaxation or exploration of the streets of Jerusalem, was a huge statement. Not to mention, “risking” being assumed to be part of the LGBTQ+ community. This was something that I had never been exposed to before, and it was incredible to see and experience firsthand. At the end of the orientation, I brought up what happened. I shared with the students how meaningful it was to me – that students who were not part of our community would choose to join us. Their main motivation was less important here, be it curiosity about resources provided, facts about Israel’s treatment of the LGBTQ+ community legally and socially, solidarity with queer friends and family, or yes – actual curiosity about their own sexual identity. I thanked them, perhaps a bit emotionally, for attending the orientation and involving themselves in the reality of our lives by actively supporting us. The support of allies is also important at home but is even more necessary and valuable during a study abroad experience. During study abroad, students are further away from their support networks and safe spaces. Many students travel abroad without knowing anyone in the host country, or among their new peers. Strong statements by allies during the beginning of the study abroad period are critical to many diverse and underrepresented students, who may need different forms of support in order to successfully complete their study abroad adventure. I suppose my surprise at the ally attendance was a bit unnecessary, as I do mention the optional LGBTQ+ orientation at our mandatory orientations, and invite all students to attend regardless of identity, and reiterate the fact that no assumptions should be made about attendees, as allies are more than welcome to attend. I do not reserve this sentiment for allies to the LGBTQ+ community – I discuss all diverse and underrepresented identities and how they will be received in Israel. All students are encouraged to pay attention as they need to know what their friends will go through, perhaps supporting their friends through potentially negative encounters, as well as celebrating positive ones.

V O L U M E 2 5 , N U M B E R 2 , S P R I N G 2 0 1 9

PAG E 8


RAINBOW SIG I believe that inviting students that are often part of the majority to learn what their peers of a minority experience, fosters more dialogue between student groups. It helps students broach subjects that are sometimes uncomfortable and awkward to bring up. It encourages caring, understanding, awareness and empathy. I was always proud to share that message and touched to finally witness the results. I’m proud to share that in January 2019, when new students arrived and attended the optional LGBTQ+ student resources orientation – allies attended the orientation again!

I N S I D E T H A I L A N D ’S L A DY B OY C U LT U R E

Anuja Parikh, Study Abroad Advisor, University of South Carolina

Thailand – the Land of Smiles, and home to the highest number of sex reassignment surgeries in the world. Thailand has consistently been marketed as a top tourist destination for LGBTQ+ travelers, with a vibrant nightlife dedicated to the community that draws in hundreds of thousands of tourists each year. Though on the surface Thailand appears to accept the LGBTQ+ population, Thai citizens that belong to this community still face severe discrimination and humiliation in various aspects of their lives. Transgender women (phuying kham phet), often negatively referred to as “ladyboys”, face high levels of professional, social, and emotional adversity in Thai society. Phuying kham phet are unable to legally change their gender on major documentation, such as passports and ID cards. Because of this law, these women are faced with an additional layer of inspection at immigration and security checkpoints. The contradictory nature of identifying as a woman but having an ID card that states the opposite is a struggle that causes many of these women to feel singled out and embarrassed. Normal activities like opening a bank account, enrolling in school, or renting a house all require showing national ID, making this ordeal unavoidable. The stigma attached to belonging to the transgender community extends further into the progression of their professional career goals. Though many transgender women are qualified for positions and have academic backgrounds that encourage success, they are often scrutinized more than candidates that are considered “normal”. Interviewers sometimes question transgender candidates about personal matters related to their transition progression, rather than their professional qualifications, again, setting these women up for an uncomfortable and insulting interview experience. Because of the stigma attached to their identity, many transgender women are discouraged from applying to high-level positions such as lawyers, politicians, or even university lecturers. These women are often encouraged to pursue secretarial positions, or they are reluctantly pushed toward the entertainment industry.

V O L U M E 2 5 , N U M B E R 2 , S P R I N G 2 0 1 9

PAG E 9


RAINBOW SIG One of the most jarring examples of blatant injustice against phuying kham phet is through the mandatory Thai military draft. At age 21, those assigned male at birth are required to either volunteer for military service or take their chances in the military lottery. Each year, during army recruitment, they are subjected to the stress associated with showing up to the draft, surrounded by men who look the part. Some women can receive an exemption if they can prove that have begun their physical transition. Doctors will take those who have made physical changes to their bodies into a room to view them in full form – a large improvement from when potential recruits were forced to strip in front of each other. Many women do not have the funds to afford a sex reassignment surgery by age 21, leading them to fall outside of this category during the recruitment process. These women must have a hospital certify that they have a “gender identity disorder”. The term “gender identity disorder” was, again, an improvement from the previous term of “permanent mental disorder”. However, by asserting these women have a “disorder”, the military is further reinforcing the stigma ingrained in Thai society. As a foreigner visiting LGBTQ+ “paradise”, it’s important to recognize the privilege attached to being a visitor. Many foreigners who visit Thailand can’t wait to attend a “ladyboy” show, citing this as one of the highlights of their Southeast Asia tour. I challenge those who visit Thailand in the future to think about the circumstances that led these women into the entertainment industry. Did they have higher aspirations of perhaps being a doctor or a lawyer? Were they forced into the entertainment industry out of necessity of paying their bills? How has growing up in the discriminatory culture of Thailand shaped who they are today? Little by little, small changes are being made to help support phuying kham phet and stop the discrimination against the community; however, Thailand has a long way to go before they truly change the cultural climate surrounding transgender women. The Buddhist society overwhelmingly believes that karma plays a role in the existence of transgender women: past sins are punishing the women to suffer from the “disorder”. The consistent humiliation that phuying kham phet face daily gives way to severe self-esteem issues and a crushing feeling of self-doubt. There has been a rise of transgender women in popular media roles and even political races in Thailand; one can hope that these women will serve as an inspiration to the rest of the community. They put themselves in the public eye, unapologetically, in order to lead and inspire others to feel the change that is hopefully en route to the Land of Smiles.

V O L U M E 2 5 , N U M B E R 2 , S P R I N G 2 0 1 9

PA G E 10


RAINBOW SIG P R O M O T I N G S E X UA L A N D G E N D E R D I V E R S I T Y AT A J A PA N E S E U N I V ER S I T Y

Daniel Smiley, Senior International Admissions Counselor, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University

Although Japan may be lagging behind other developed nations in terms of LGBTQ+ rights and understanding, recently, discussion and awareness of sexual and gender diversity related issues in Japanese society and the media have been rapidly increasing. While it is still rare for individuals to openly talk about their sexual orientation or gender identity in public, a growing number of LGBTQ+ policies and support at both the government and private level have been implemented in the past few years. Universities and colleges in Japan, while still very small in number, have also been stepping up their efforts to make their campuses more inclusive for LGBTQ+ students. The university that I currently work at, Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University (APU), has been working on various initiatives for promoting sexual and gender diversity on campus. Located in southwestern Japan in the city of Beppu, APU is a private university with a 50% international student population coming from 91 different countries and regions. As a university that values diversity and mutual respect, it seemed natural for the institution to also support sexual and gender diversity related issues. However, it wasn’t until four years ago when a student LGBTQ+ group was established, and we began to hear more from our LGBTQ+ students about challenges they faced on campus, that university-wide efforts began. Led by Sayako Inui, the Assistant Manager of the Student Office, a campus working group on LGBTQ+ issues was established. Surveys and interviews were conducted among APU students, faculty, and staff to assess the campus climate and environment towards LGBTQ+ students, issues they were facing, and the support that was needed to make our campus more LGBTQ+ inclusive. Based on the results of the surveys and interviews, an official policy statement was created early last year stating that the university respects sexual and gender diversity as part of its commitment to human rights. Very few Japanese universities have such a policy, and so before it was finalized, various efforts were made to raise awareness of sexual and gender diversity related issues among our faculty and staff in order to help them understand why this policy was necessary to implement. In particular, considerations were made to make the university more inclusive for transgender and nonbinary students, which was an issue that was frequently brought up in the survey results. Gender-related specifications were eliminated from most official university forms and certificates, and a website was created to provide additional information and resources for students, including the location of gender-free restrooms on campus and accommodations available during on and off-campus activities.

V O L U M E 2 5 , N U M B E R 2 , S P R I N G 2 0 1 9

P A G E 11


RAINBOW SIG The International Admissions Office, where I currently work, is also working on eliminating questions regarding sex/gender from our application forms. Although we still require applicants to select either male or female for sex due to the university’s current systems requirements, in the meantime we explain why the question is required and ask them to provide what is written on their passport. We have also provided an option for applicants to share their gender identity if they wish. While we know this is far from ideal, it is still new for a Japanese university to give such a clear explanation and offer such considerations during the admissions process. To raise greater awareness of sexual and gender diversity related issues among members of the entire APU community, a three-day event was also held last October by the student group APU Colors in collaboration with our Student Office. The festivities included LGBTQ+ themed movie nights, a panel discussion featuring LGBTQ+ community members and our university president, displays of various pride flags across campus, and more. The feedback for the event was overwhelmingly positive, with many mentioning that they appreciated the university’s active efforts to promote the understanding of sexual and gender diversity on campus and hoped there would be similar events again in the future. While there is still more that we could be doing to fully support LGBTQ+ students at APU, as a member of the LGBTQ+ community myself, I am happy to be part of a university in Japan that is taking greater steps to create a campus environment that is more inclusive and welcoming for all our students. Keeping this momentum going will be our biggest challenge, but we hope to continue promoting and strengthening the various initiatives that we have started, and that similar efforts will be initiated at more Japanese universities as well.

A C C O U N TA B I L I T Y I N I N T E R N AT I O N A L E D U C AT I O N

Sahil Mehta, Educator, Columbia University

Helen Onwuka arrived to Sobral, Ceará on a hot February night. In fact, most days and nights in Sobral were hot--if not scorching--in this town situated in the blazing countryside of one of Brazil’s northeastern states. Having just concluded orientation for the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant program in Sao Paulo, she immediately observed a stark difference between these two cities. Having been one of the three black female ETAs (out of 120 ETAs total) leaving Sao Paulo--which hosts the biggest pride parade in Latin America-Helen arrived to her placement city learning that it had never hosted a pride festival in its entire existence.

V O L U M E 2 5 , N U M B E R 2 , S P R I N G 2 0 1 9

P A G E 12


RAINBOW SIG Until Helen changed that. She arrived to the Valley of Acarau State University (UVA), and after a few months of teaching, she mobilized and organized, and spearheaded a “Diversity Week” that was orchestrated by her diversity club that allied students of color and LGBTQIA+ students. Meanwhile, other ETAs across the country were off partying, taking selfies with açaí, traveling to remote beach towns away from their placement universities, appropriating capoeira, and largely treating their nine-month stints as a sabbatical from their challenging lives as recent college graduates. Most ETAs could willfully engage in such frivolity because there wasn’t necessarily a need for them to champion social justice causes on their placement campuses. Helen’s reality, however, was different. After Diversity Week, Helen earned credibility with her most marginalized students who notified her of a horrific reality: In UVA’s English department, there was a professor who was repeatedly calling queer students “viadinhos” (little faggots”) during class time and contributing to their departure from class and in many cases the credential program at large. Until Helen changed that--or at least tried to but was met with opposition. Helen alerted her three (white) ETA colleagues in Sobral of her intentions of writing a letter to share with the Fulbright Commission so that they would be informed of the situation. The only ETA colleague who decided to not attend even a single event during the seven days of Diversity Week pushed back against the letter, fabricating a fear that the letter would jeopardize the Fulbright program and UVA partnership. He had no reason to make this baseless assumption, and later the Commission administrators confirmed its invalidity. Nonetheless, somehow this white, straight, cis-gendered male became the expert opinion on how to handle a situation that had very little to do with him. Over the course of several weeks he continued to question Helen and combat her right to write the letter. The conflict escalated, and the Fulbright Commission intervened, accusing Helen of not bringing the situation to their attention sooner, even though the intention of the letter was to do just that. Ironically, this situation illustrates exactly how the Fulbright ETA program functions: funneling time and energy into a rigorous application process that seemingly selects the creme-de-la-creme, and then asks those high-achievers (who largely have no teaching experience) to work with university partners whom Fulbright has no ability to hold accountable. After my grant ended, I engaged in a five-month long conversation to seek reparations for Helen. I participantly-observed the Commission and the International Institute of Education play hot-potato with issues of social justice that leads me to question their abilities to satisfactorily lead a program of this magnitude. The IIE fails to hold Fulbright Commissions accountable. The Fulbright Commissions fails to hold host universities accountable. And homophobia, racism, and sexism manifest in the process, disproportionately affecting queers of color--both students and ETAs alike. Consequently, Helen has not been apologized to and the Commission even decided to place an ETA from the LGBTQIA+ community in Sobral this year.

V O L U M E 2 5 , N U M B E R 2 , S P R I N G 2 0 1 9

P A G E 13


RAINBOW SIG Personally, I was one of three South Asian American ETAs who started the program and the only one to finish the program. The other two felt such a limited sense of belonging and support from the program that they resigned during its course. As did Helen. Who was then called “irresponsible” for resigning and creating a “mess” that everyone else would have to “clean up.” This letter is a call to action to international education organizations to ensure they play active roles in breaking cycles of oppression, even/especially if that means critically analyzing your current roles in propagating discrimination both overtly and covertly. The only solution is ensuring improved treatment of diverse ETAs, especially those who go out on a limb to protect their students. We need to do more and we need to do it better.

V IRT UA L A N S WER S TO RE A L PRO BL EMS: M A PPIN G O P E N A C C E S S T O E X P E R I E N T I A L E D U C AT I O N

Rachael Criso PhD, International Internship Consultant, Global Internship Consultants

How can our profession properly serve non-traditional students who are wary of placing themselves within potentially difficult, judgmental, insensitive, and damaging international internship situations? Is it possible for members of the LGBTQ+ community to benefit (like their peers) from the cachet and resume-boost of hands-on job experience and international exposure before graduation? The answer might just lie within their laptops! The newly-minted company, Virtual Internships, offers remote internship opportunities that may be of particular interest to members of the LGBTQ+ community who cannot travel to certain locations to gain pre-graduation work experience.

V O L U M E 2 5 , N U M B E R 2 , S P R I N G 2 0 1 9

PA G E 14


RAINBOW SIG The Truth: When faced with studying or working abroad, LGBTQ+ students may feel uncomfortable and perhaps even face prosecution if they are openly themselves. The ILGA (International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Association) offers a world map indicating locations where state-sponsored homophobia is tragically the norm. Over fifteen countries (including Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Iran) currently fall within the category designated as demonstrating state-run prejudice against the LGBTQ+ community. Top Down Support: Diversity Abroad has just rolled out its second edition of its AIDE (Access, Inclusion, Diversity, & Equity) international roadmap to assist in easing the path abroad for underrepresented students. They are also on the cusp of launching their new Inclusive Excellence program that will evaluate current diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts for institutions and create a baseline upon which they can build a plan for sustainable and continuous improvement. Grassroots Efforts: Many institutions are growing their own support systems for their LGBTQ+ community with regard to overseas travel. For example, the University of California Davis’ LGBTQI Resource Center offers another interactive world map, wherein twenty countries contain relevant information including laws impacting LGBTQ+ people. The University of Maryland just announced their Over the Rainbow (SOTR) Conference on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in International Education. Web pages dedicated to Diversity & Identity Abroad figure widely on the international education sites of many institutions including the University of Washington, the University of Michigan, Stanford, and the University of Virginia, to name just a few. Unlocking the Door: Recent innovations and best practices in the growing world of virtual internships increase access to internships for all students. By providing remote working opportunities, virtual internships can level the resume-building playing field for non-traditional students who are unable to study and/or intern abroad. The LGBTQ+ community, while supported and encouraged by numerous institutions to travel abroad for both study and work, may feel uncomfortable and perhaps unwelcome in certain locations. Interning virtually means that all non-traditional community members are able to gain essential work experience, while still studying, without the requirement of traveling abroad. For example, last winter Misaki (a Japanese student) was studying in London. Unable to find a suitable internship there and hoping to expand her global network and experience, she undertook a remote marketing internship with a retail company in China, a location she would not have traveled to otherwise.

V O L U M E 2 5 , N U M B E R 2 , S P R I N G 2 0 1 9

P A G E 15


RAINBOW SIG Walking the Walk: Ed Holroyd Peace, co-founder of Virtual Internships, feels strongly about the appeal of this platform of inclusivity and equity to the LGBTQ+ community. The successful, gay entrepreneur, and the leader of this forward-thinking company, recently said: “Now is the time for us to use technology to break down the barriers that have prevented so many in our community from being able to tackle their post-graduate job search with the same advantage of hands-on work experience as their peers.” In today’s changing world of work, where much of our daily business is completed online, our LGBTQ+ community needs to know they will be part of the equation. If some members are unable to gain the requisite work experience to be competitive and successful, we must find a way to guide them to new avenues where they’ll build skills and experience. The LGBTQ+ community can play a vital role in the digital workforce of the future and working remotely can be the first step they take.

5 T H I N G S T O K N O W A B O U T L G B T Q I A+ C U LT U R E I N I TA LY Clau Castaneda, University Relations Associate, SAI Programs

IIE Open Doors 2018 surveys put Italy at one of the top destinations for study abroad students. When advising students about their host country, how do we answer those questions concerning LGBTQIA+ culture and safety? Having lived in Italy for 7+ years as a Program Coordinator and as a queer person, I can offer my experience and other resources to paint a picture of today’s LGBTQIA+ culture in Italy. Regional Differences Italy’s regions offer a diverse outlook for LGBTQIA+ individuals. Larger cities are progressive leaning and have a vibrant queer culture, while smaller towns lean more toward the conservative. Despite this, acceptance is growing throughout the country, and a 2013 Pew Research Center Survey demonstrates a steadily growing number of associations and queer events. Queer Cultural Events One such association is Arcigay. Founded in 1980, Arcigay is Italy’s first and largest national gay organization. Its committees offer resources for LGBTQIA+ individuals that range from social events to transgender clinics. Wonderfully enough, much-cherished Tuscany takes the lead in creating inclusive platforms for queer individuals; in 2010, Tuscany became the first region to create a dedicated portal for gay tourism. Check out the Florence Queer Festival for LGBTQIA+ narratives in film and art!

V O L U M E 2 5 , N U M B E R 2 , S P R I N G 2 0 1 9

PA G E 16


RAINBOW SIG Federal Laws, Policies & Protections Great resources to understand LGBTQIA+ sentiment and laws in a host country include EqualDex, Rainbow Europe, and The State Department. Rainbow Europe, an online tool that measures the legal index and social climate for LGBTI people in European countries, gives Italy a score of 32 out of 49 in terms of protective legislations for queer individuals. Federal policies include: đ&#x;Œˆ Equality & Non-discrimination employment laws đ&#x;Œˆ Registered same-sex partnerships đ&#x;Œˆ Transgender marriage rights đ&#x;Œˆ Legal measures to change gender marker đ&#x;Œˆ Legal claim for asylum based on sexual orientation or gender identity

đ&#x;Œˆ đ&#x;Œˆ đ&#x;Œˆ đ&#x;Œˆ đ&#x;Œˆ

The same can be said for policies and protocols adopted by Italian municipalities. For instance, Reggio Emilia protects queer rights in public institutions by: đ&#x;Œˆ Establishing inclusive toilets đ&#x;Œˆ Allowing affirming names on student ID cards đ&#x;Œˆ Offering inclusive language on medical forms đ&#x;Œˆ Encouraging educators and parents to discuss gender issues

đ&#x;Œˆ đ&#x;Œˆ đ&#x;Œˆ đ&#x;Œˆ

Bathrooms Transgender and non-binary students regularly ask about the safety of using bathrooms abroad that align with their gender identity. Though there are establishments that have gender segregated bathrooms (looking at you, train stations), this is a non-issue for the most part—many establishments like restaurants, bars, cafes, and small businesses generally have one bathroom for patrons. When in doubt, encourage students to use their better judgment. Personal Growth & Identity in Florence, A Student’s Account Students may find that their time in Italy allows for identity exploration. Seth Harrington (they, them, theirs) is a student from California State University, Long Beach. They attended two summer programs with SAI Programs in 2015 and 2016, both based in Florence, Italy and I had the chance to ask them about how both stays buoyed their identity and self-discovery. “I had the opportunity to study abroad twice, first as a student and later as an activity director. Both experiences offered opportunities for growth in my identity[...] In Italy, there were so many new people and experiences to process [...] I had the opportunity to cement my identity as a queer person and to grow confident in that identity. My interactions with Italian culture provided me with a space to become a different and more fully-fledged person‌I was able to have fun with my life and feel free.â€?

V O L U M E 2 5 , N U M B E R 2 , S P R I N G 2 0 1 9

P A G E 17


RAINBOW SIG Seth’s response illustrates just how important studying abroad is for all our students, especially those falling under the queer umbrella. In April of this year, Barack Obama did an interview with BBC about the vitalness of travel in forging connections, inspiring transformation and building empathy. Ever the eloquent, he recalled of his own travels: “those kinds of trips are memorable because they’re part of you as a young person trying to discover what your place in the world is.” You can read his full interview here. And for any of you advising students travelling to Italy, I hope these resources prove useful in encouraging students!

M Y G L O B A L I D E N T I T Y: D E V E L O P I N G T R AV E L R E S O U R C E S F O R L G B T Q A+ S T U D E N T S AT NORTHEASTERN

Alexa Soares, Senior Peer Advisor, Northeastern University

Over the past year, we at the Global Experience Office (GEO) of Northeastern University have been working to improve programming and resources available to underrepresented students. The “My Global Identity” series provides guidance and discussion space for students concerned about how their various identities-and the intersection of these identities--will affect their study abroad experience. A significant component of this series has been the development of resources for LGBTQA+ students. We know that students at Northeastern have become accustomed to the way that Bostonians approach sexual orientation and gender expression, and we want to prepare students for how reactions may vary in other locations. As a Senior Peer Advisor in GEO and a bisexual student at Northeastern, this effort is of particular importance to me. This endeavor was inspired, in part, by feedback that GEO received pertaining to a pre-departure orientation event held last year. Students were presented with scenarios that may arise while abroad and asked how they would react. One scenario addressed being outed to your host family; this scenario was the only part of the event that addressed any form of diversity. Students expressed a desire to better emphasize questions of diversity and identity as part of their pre-departure preparation through a variety of mediums, including social media. A Global Ambassador in the office alerted Jenny Woodford, our Marketing & Events Coordinator, to the student response. GEO made it a priority to improve the way we address the needs of underrepresented students, and LGBTQA+ students in particular.

V O L U M E 2 5 , N U M B E R 2 , S P R I N G 2 0 1 9

PA G E 18


RAINBOW SIG In order to create a program that centers around LGBTQA+ students, we started out by partnering with Northeastern’s LGBTQA+ Resource Center. Lee West, the Director of the Center, trained the entire GEO staff to ensure that everyone in our office was equipped to serve LGBTQA+ students in a respectful and affirming way. Jenny, along with Jeff Sullivan, a Global Experience Advisor, created a survey and held a focus group to gather student feedback. They found that 59% of students reported that their sexual orientation and/or gender identity impacted their global experience, and 91% did their own research about it before leaving, demonstrating that there was a need for specific programming to prepare students for these issues. Several students reported that they were unaware of available resources and wished they had more support from GEO. Armed with the data and training, GEO developed a multi-faceted approach to tackle this problem. We aimed to address the various factors that impact LGBTQA+ students, including local laws and regulations, social norms and culture, and personal health and well-being. I have taken the following steps to meet this goal: đ&#x;Œˆ Added information from the U.S. State Department’s Country information section to each of our 174 program pages to make students aware of legal restrictions affecting same-sex relationships đ&#x;Œˆ Designed handouts listing on-campus offices and external organizations that provide support to LGBTQA+ students đ&#x;Œˆ Created a brochure detailing specific issues that LGBTQA+ students should take into consideration when planning to go abroad đ&#x;Œˆ Compiled a comprehensive resource guide, which includes information on accessing both support and scholarships for various marginalized identities. đ&#x;Œˆ Developing city guides for individual cities that are popular destinations for Northeastern students which detail relevant laws, cultural attitudes, and LGBTQA+ organizations in the universities that we partner with as well as the greater community.

đ&#x;Œˆ đ&#x;Œˆ đ&#x;Œˆ đ&#x;Œˆ đ&#x;Œˆ

Every semester, starting in Fall 2018, we organize a pre-departure orientation session where LGBTQA+ students and allies who are going abroad can meet, express their concerns, and learn about the resources available to them. This is part of our ongoing partnership with the LGBTQA+ Resource Center, so staff from both offices are present in a casual environment for students to share their experiences and concerns. Going forward, we will also be working with the Center to create more print resources, such as a checklist for trans students to make them aware of the legal issues surrounding travel documents and airport security. At the beginning of this academic year, GEO had very few resources to address the unique needs of LGBTQA+ students. We realized that we have a responsibility to serve these students, so we worked quickly to strengthen our support for this important community. There is still room to improve, and we intend to continue developing stronger, more comprehensive resources for LGBTQA+ students at Northeastern, guided by student feedback and advice from our colleagues in the LGBTQA+ Resource Center.

V O L U M E 2 5 , N U M B E R 2 , S P R I N G 2 0 1 9

PA G E 19


RAINBOW SIG CONSIDERING LGBTQ LIVES WORLDWIDE FOR NYC’S WORL DPRIDE/S TONE WA L L 50

Dr. Dane S. Claussen, Manager of University Relations, Athena Study Abroad

June 28, 2019 marks the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Inn Riots, which began the second phase of the USA’s gay rights movement. New York City’s June 30th pride parade is a WorldPride event, which concludes a month of events. Not only will New York City’s month of events draw attendees from around the world, but New York Law School will hold a (LGBTQIA+) Human Rights Conference on June 24-25, announced as “a unique opportunity for a global dialogue about human rights, ranging from performances to presentations, politics to policies, and activism to academics.”1 This is an especially appropriate time to talk with students, LGBTQ identifying or not, who might, will, or have studied abroad, about contrasting LGBTQ American lives with those of LGBTQ persons elsewhere. (Some countries are surprisingly good, others are surprisingly bad!) American students studying abroad might see other countries’ pride events (some safe, some not), even by accident—I once stumbled onto Copenhagen Pride! Students should know, and may find out on their own, that similar to the USA, the presence or absence of legal rights for a country’s LGBTQ persons is not dispositive of their daily lives. A few countries are illustrative: The People’s Republic of China (where I lived 2013-15) is a mixed bag. China decriminalized homosexuality in 1997 and delisted it as a mental illness in 2001. China has had gay bars in the largest cities for about 25 years, its own gay dating phone apps (the most famous: Blued) plus heavy use of Grindr, and younger Chinese are mostly LGBTQ friendly. Same-sex couples sharing a goodbye kiss at a metro station get smiles or are ignored. Yet, current President Xi Jinping’s government has not only stopped organized events such as pride parades (all publicly organized events make him nervous), but gay bars are closed on pretexts (or for no stated reason). Furthermore, LGBTQ characters are again banned from new Chinese movies and TV shows, and LGBTQ topics are covered almost exclusively in English language media. Xi is enforcing communist ideology, which historically viewed homosexuality as Western and decadent. Hypothetically, the end of the urban one-child-only policy will decrease pressure on LGBTQ young people to get married and have a child. But that will take many years and, in the meantime, almost no Chinese are out to their parents.

1: NYC WorldPride / Stonewall 50

V O L U M E 2 5 , N U M B E R 2 , S P R I N G 2 0 1 9

PAG E 20


RAINBOW SIG South Africa’s situation is complex. The 1996 constitution was the world’s first to explicitly protect LGBTQ citizens, and in 1998, the country’s top court interpreted that literally, retroactive to 1994. Same-sex marriage has been legal since 2006. The public is badly divided on the issue, not only between more liberal urban areas (Cape Town, Johannesburg, Durban, etc.) and rural areas, but between whites and blacks, and otherwise. Some South Africans differentiate between legal rights and ethical/moral arguments: A survey showed about three-quarters of South Africans say homosexuality is morally wrong, but half would accept an LGBTQ family member, and about three-quarters think LGBTQ South Africans should have the same legal rights, including job protection and marriage rights. Anti-LGBTQ South Africans are very “anti”; about 10% admit they would try to change a neighbor’s non-straight orientation. South African LGBTQ students experience some of the world’s highest studied rates of bullying, and some Lesbians are assaulted by men who believe in “corrective rape.” Majority Muslim countries also present contradictions. In Turkey (where US study abroad numbers have plunged), homosexuality was legalized in 1858 and Istanbul has long been regarded as the region’s gay mecca (along with Israel). However, like in China, the current government is increasingly hostile to LGBTQ everything. In Egypt, 95% of the population opposes homosexuality, the act of which can result in prison sentences up to 17 years. In Saudi Arabia (where, granted, few US students go), homosexuality is punishable by up to life in prison or execution, although hundreds of lashes plus a short prison term is more common. However, in cities such as Riyadh and Alexandria, large numbers of gay men in particular are easily identifiable and gay sex easily obtainable—even with single men who otherwise self-identify and behave as straight. Particularly in Saudi Arabia, this stems from strict separation of sexes and the related level of male privilege. The announcement of a May 9th Diversity Abroad online discussion about advising LGBTQ students identified resources as, “Social media, Documentary series, Leisure travel websites, Study abroad provider/ organization resources, and Returnee accounts.”2 While a helpful list, I suggest it also include the following to be fully comprehensive: scholarly books and journal articles, other nonfiction books, even Wikipedia pages (where people worldwide usually are posting legal and political developments), and novels. (Last year at Thiel College, I taught a senior capstone course, LGBTQ Cultures and Issues Worldwide. Its syllabus is available by emailing me at dane.claussen@athenaabroad.com.)

2: Diversity Abroad

V O L U M E 2 5 , N U M B E R 2 , S P R I N G 2 0 1 9

PA G E 21


RAINBOW SIG R E G I O N A L R E P R E S E N TAT I V E S Region I Open Position Region II Drew Ross Andrew.Ross.4@asu.edu Region III Jeff Simpson jeff.simpson10@okstate.edu Jose Martinez jfmartin@uiwtx.edu Region IV Kristen Albrecht albrechtkl@missouri.edu Will Bonfiglio bonfiglio.w@wustl.edu David Gardner

david.gardner@mnsu.edu Region V Mark Chung Kwan Fan chungkw1@msu.edu Jesus Velasco jvelasco@millikin.edu REGION VI Kyle Hayes kyghayes@iu.edu Region VII PJ Shoulders pj@qs.com

Region X Rebecca Greenstrom becky.greenstrom@nyu.edu Region XI David Griffin david_griffin@emerson.edu Region XII Shawna Hook-Held sheld@ucsd.edu Travis Pentz tpentz@berkeley.edu

Heath Thompson hmthompson@ua.edu Region VIII Brett Wobbe bwobbe1@jhu.edu

Outside U.S. Representative Ira Kirschner Jerusalem, Israel ira.kirschner@mail.huji.ac.il

R A INB OW SI G L E A D ER SHIP T E A M: Rainbow SIG Co-Chairs Mike Nieto, ’17 – ’19; mikednieto@gmail.com Murphy Scott, ’18 – ’20; murphy@insituprograms.org Membership Coordinator & Listserv Manager Susan Carty; scarty@iu.edu Newsletter Co-Editors Kelly Zuniga ’17 – ’19; kzuniga@saonet.ucla.edu Shane Lanning ‘18 –’20; smlanning@bsu.edu

Scholarship Coordinators Andrew Rapin, ’17 – ’19; andrew.rapin@nyu.edu Erik Gaarder, ’15 – ’17; gaarder.1@osu.edu Jan Kieling (Honorary); yaneechay@hotmail.com Mark Lenhart (Honorary); mlenhart@academic-travel. com Treasurer Rick Russo russo@berkeley.edu Website Co-Content Managers Evelyn Rosengren-Hovee, ’17 – ’19; evelyn@ gennexteducation.com

V O L U M E 2 5 , N U M B E R 2 , S P R I N G 2 0 1 9

PAG E 22

Profile for Rainbow SIG

Rainbow SIG Newsletter, Volume 25, Number 2, Spring 2019  

Rainbow SIG Newsletter, Volume 25, Number 2, Spring 2019  

Advertisement