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R A INBOW SIG NEWSLETTER

Volu me 24, Nu m ber 4, Su m mer 2018

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 This Edition: • Advising LGBTQ International Students: Are We Doing Enough? • Building Inclusive Communities: Reflections of an International Educator • Congratulations, Rainbow SIG! • Borders and Liberation: Finding Freedom Through the Borderlands of International Education • In the Beginning • Rainbow SIG 25th Anniversary Reception

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R AINBOW SIG Get Involved! 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 Reach Out: Email the listserv by sending your message to: rainbow-l@indiana.edu Contribute: Submit content for the Rainbow SIG Newsletter for future issues Represent: Volunteer to become a NAFSA Rainbow SIG Regional Rep

Advising LGBTQ International Students: Are We Doing Enough? Shane Lanning, Ball State University International education is an ever-changing landscape for students, advisors, and universities, especially when considering international students with marginalized identities. These students come to the U.S. potentially having experienced stigma about their identities, and they have preconceptions, often misguided, about how U.S. citizens will perceive their identities. Since laws affecting LGBTQ-identifying individuals vary from country to country, advisors and universities may not be fully prepared to assist students in navigating their identities as LGBTQ international students. I had the privilege of chatting with two LGBTQ-identifying international students. One student is a Saudi male (pseudonym: Ali) who identifies as gay; the other is a Chinese female (pseudonym: Mochou) who identifies as lesbian. Their perspectives were, obviously, different, but their insights have greatly affected my personal practice as an advisor. In case you are unaware, LGBTQ “activities” are outlawed in Saudi Arabia and result in harsh punishments. In China, LGTBQ “activities” are legal, but there is no legal recognition or protections for LGBTQ individuals, and social pressure often dissuades them from living openly. When I sat down with Ali, I was reminded of the strength it took for him to come out to his Saudi peers in the US. He consistently mentioned that an LGBTQ-identifying international student would need protection from their peers. He felt welcomed and supported in the US by most domestic students, but he felt a lot of fear with regards to his Saudi peers. I asked for some clarification here because this poses a tricky scenario to international student advisors. How can we protect students from their peers? Ali said that allowing students the possibility to self-identify in the application could help the office take necessary steps to support them. Advisors would be able to find time to meet with

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R AINBOW SIG students individually and connect them with LGBTQ groups and resources on campus. I do not want to comment on the legality or feasibility of having this question on an application, but I do think we can do a better job of providing this information to all of our international students. Are we aware of our LGBTQ resources? Could we provide this to a student if they reach out? Is this information made available during orientation? During my conversation with Mochou, I learned that actions that may seem small to us can be huge for LGBTQ international students. She said that she did not feel the need to seek out support and has been fully out in the U.S. during her studies. But, it was amazing for her to see Safe Zone stickers because there is little to no LGBTQ representation in Chinese media and culture, and these stickers made her feel welcomed and supported. When I asked what she thinks universities could do to better support her and other LGBTQ-identifying international students, she responded with, “What we would need, [the university] probably won’t be able to offer. For example, ‘how do I come out to my parents?’ This is different in each culture. So, any advice that could be given may not work.” She also mentioned that as a lesbian, “there is no future for me in China.” So, she hopes to stay in the US or Canada after her studies, which led her to mention that it may be helpful for advisors to be aware of how LGBTQ international students can seek asylum as a last resort. She said that advisors should be aware that these students may be more likely to desire staying in the US because they are escaping their country’s situation. I recognize that this barely scratches the surface. These are two individuals who bring their perspectives, but that does not fully represent the range of experiences of LGBTQ-identifying international students. But, what I can say is that my own practice has been impacted. I made it a point to hang up my Safe Zone stickers where they are clear and visible. I have made it a point to be aware of the LGBTQ resources available to students of my university and within the community. And, I have made it a point to be more open about my own gay identity. I do not need to dance around my own identity because I fear it could be off-putting to some of our international students. But, I recognize now that it is a strength in my advising. If nothing else, it is a small act that reassures our students that they are fully welcome here.

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R AINBOW SIG Building Inclusive Communities: Reflections of an International Educator

Stephanie Tignor, Director of Education Abroad, Virginia Commonwealth University I recently participated in a one-day inclusivity workshop at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). VCU’s Building Inclusive Communities (BIC) is an initiative that seeks to create an engaged, diverse, and inclusive campus environment. BIC was developed in partnership with Visions, Inc., a non-profit organization specializing in diversity and inclusion. Through BIC, VCU has recommited itself to diversity, a core value that makes me proud to work at VCU, especially in this time of great national divisiveness. The BIC workshop is purposely facilitated by faculty and staff from across the university as a grassroots effort to lead cultural change. Prior to attending the workshop, all participants were sent preparation materials which were useful and informative, even for those of us who previously participated in a similar training. We viewed three videos focused on different subjects related to diverse identities: 1. “RACE: THE HOUSE WE LIVE IN,” (http://youtu.be/mW764dXEI_8) which explained the racist public policy decisions during the 20th century and its impact on future generations; 2. “TRANSGENDER BASICS - GENDER IDENTITY PROJECT,” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UXI9w0PbBXY), explained transgender as an umbrella term and included interviews with individuals in the transgender community; 3. “THE DANGER OF A SINGLE STORY,” (https://www.youtube.com watch?v=D4pH6TxKzus&list=UU886GKyCllwVx2L1m8AJnlg) from author Chimamanda Adichie in which she presents humans as complex individuals whose lives and cultures are composed of overlapping stories. Workshop participants were asked to review an article on women in the workplace and an article about the unique challenges that low-income, first-generation, and racial/ethnic minority students encounter in higher education. These resources helped participants recognize the complexity of human identities and ways that those identities intersect as we interact with one another, particularly in the university setting. On the morning of the workshop, I joined 15-20 colleagues from across the university in introducing ourselves using our preferred gender pronouns (e.g. “she, her, and hers”), and learning about the goals for the workshop. The facilitators covered a set of guidelines for equity and inclusion which

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R AINBOW SIG are particularly important when discussing such a sensitive topic with a group of colleagues and coworkers (including “trying on” other’s opinions and positions, agreeing to disagree with others at times, not blaming, shaming, or attacking oneself or others, using “I” statements, and confidentiality). The guidelines were essential to creating a safe space in which everyone could openly share and reflect without judgment. In our small groups we learned about the Multicultural Process of Change (MPC) which is a progression from a “monoculturalist” view of the world towards “pluralism.” As an international educator familiar with Bennett’s Developmental Model of Intercultural Sensitivity (DMIS), I was drawn to the similarities between the MPC and the DMIS’s progression from ethnocentrism towards ethnorelativism. We engaged in a cultural sharing exercise in which we shared about our backgrounds. Many of us had not considered how our identities help or hinder us in our work. We realized that we do not share much about our own cultural backgrounds with those with whom we work and that through being more open with our coworkers and even our students, we might better engage and connect with others on a deeper level (even without sharing similar cultural backgrounds). As a cisgendered, heterosexual white female, I faced my own privilege through this workshop and was forced to recognize times when I have benefitted from that privilege, but I also identified that I belong to historically excluded groups (including having a non-apparent disability, being a woman and mother, less formally educated without a doctoral degree, etc.) and how these intersecting identities come into play in interactions with my team, our students, and others with whom we work on campus and beyond. As an international educator, VCU’s BIC workshop reminded me that our identities are unique and complex and that the work we do with our students should include conversations about their diverse identities and how those identities influence their participation (or lack thereof) in international education. In order for us to best support our students who are willing to share their diverse identities with us, we must first engage in an exercise of self-awareness by assessing our own assumptions and identities and owning and sharing our cultural backgrounds more openly. I am proud to work for an institution where diversity is embraced as one of our core values. I encourage others to seek out similar training to help foster the multicultural process of change in their own communities. Many institutions offer inclusivity training designed by Visions, Inc. as they partner with various institutions (http://visions-inc.org/who-we-serve/our-clients/). And if no such training exists at your institution, then I encourage you to lead the way and create a path so that you can help build a culture of inclusion not just within your own office, but throughout your organization.

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R AINBOW SIG Congratulations, Rainbow SIG! Bob Ericksen, retired from UCLA In 1977, I was freshly back from a year-long internship in Kenya, having completed my graduate program at the School for International Training. My job hunt began in Washington DC. I quickly discovered my knowledge of Iranian culture and Farsi language (from my recent Peace Corps service) was very marketable, as nearly half the international students in the US at the time were from Iran. I soon found myself working at the University of Maryland, College Park. As a gay man, I wondered how I’d fit into this new field. Could I be “out”? Careful and closeted? A few months later I was presenting at my first NAFSA Regional Conference (Region VIII, 1977 or 78) at a panel on Iranian students. Meeting colleagues and socializing, my “gaydar” quickly told me I was not alone. This was a massive relief for me. While I was not immediately “out” with my new colleagues, I quickly sensed that I had made the right career choice. I loved working with international students, loved the university setting, and was thrilled at the prospect of pursuing this career without fear of being who I am. My first permanent job was at St. Louis University, working with Don Azar, teaching English and advising international students. Don was then a NAFSA Vice President. I quickly became very comfortable with Don and came out to him. Don, a straight man, could hardly wait to tell me of all his gay colleagues in NAFSA. Don’s supportive mentorship allowed me to promise to myself that I would never be closeted in my workplace. Hosting the Annual Conference in St. Louis the next year, Don made sure that I met all the NAFSA leadership, a fair number of whom were gay. In a later director job in the 80’s, a staff member accused me of inappropriate behavior when I offered to share a room so that we could afford to attend a conference. I’m grateful that I was already out with my boss and the issue was quickly dismissed as my staff member’s problem, not mine. The Rainbow SIG came many years later, very much needed and long overdue. While the discreet social networks (passing notes to each other about what bar we’d meet in that evening) were great, it was time to truly connect who we are as professionals with who we are as people. This step has enabled future generations of NAFSAns (and my own!) to be fully authentic in our work, more effective in advocating for our own needs, supporting colleagues facing challenges or discrimination, and bringing LGBTQ issues into our daily conversations, professional development and student advocacy. As far as NAFSA, there’s not much I have NOT done with our great association. NAFSA friends and colleagues are so dear to my heart. My final job was at UCLA, 2006. Within days after accepting my Director position, I received a call from Stanley Dashew, benefactor and namesake of the Dashew Center for International Students and

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R AINBOW SIG Scholars. He invited me to his 90-something birthday party, a grand event attended by many prominent dignitaries. Of course, I accepted his invite. Stanley followed up with, “You’re bringing your wife, aren’t you?” Gulp. Heart beating hard in my chest, “I’ll be glad to bring my partner, Brian.” “By all means, do!” was Stanley’s response. We joined Stanley at the head table for the festivities. We DO work in the greatest profession. All blessings to Rainbow SIG for another wonderful 25 years! And thank you NAFSA- a big part of who I am is because of NAFSA! Bob Ericksen, Retired, NAFSA Life Member

Borders and Liberation: Finding Freedom Through the Borderlands of International Education Abel Estrada, University of Colorado at Boulder

It was my interest in the Brazilian scholar Paolo Freire that first made me want to study abroad. His most famous work, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, was a book that was distributed underground during the South African anti-apartheid movement in the 1970s and 80s as a form of ideological weaponry. Freire saw that true revolution would never come out of those in power. He understood that it was only those who are oppressed that could liberate us. I sought to delve into the country that produced this wisdom. Freire said, “No one is born fully-formed: It is through self-experience in the world that we become what we are.” So, I studied Portuguese for three years and gained acceptance into the program in Brazil that I was sure would bring me closer to my enlightenment and jump start my career in educational policy. Notwithstanding my acceptance into the program, a visa mix up had me rerouted from my original study abroad program in the coastal town of Fortaleza, studying education policy, to the bustling metropolis of Buenos Aires, Argentina where I participated in a public health program. My fluency in Spanish allowed me to both excel in my work and focus on identity development. In Colorado, I attended a university that wasn’t too far from my parents’ home. Although it was convenient having home-cooked meals and a place to feel en familia, there was something my comfortable life was lacking. The proximity to my parents made coming out extremely difficult, therefore when the question “ Y tu novia ?“ came up, I could only smile and nod with complicity.

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R AINBOW SIG The queer Xicanx theorist, Dr. Gloria Anzaldua was facing similar circumstances during her development. She grew up as a first generation Mexican-American in a border town of Texas. She understood the inner struggle of not belonging to either the Mexican part or the American Part of her identity. In her book Borderlands, she explains, “I have so internalized the borderland conflict that sometimes I feel like one cancels out the other and we are zero, nothing, no one. A veces no soy nada ni nadie.” The theory of borderlands proclaims that you can think about identities as circles in a venn diagram. Where you exist is that borderland area in between the circles. Essentially, you live in the hyphen between Mexican and American. Not really belonging to either but existing in that space that is bridging the two. Gloria’s theory moved us from being nothing to creating meaning in that space so that we could exist again. The theory of borderlands is pertinent to any student who participates in immersive experiences in another country. As you delve into the customs and culture of a new place you start to gain pieces of that identity. You “become” a local in your own guise. Will you ever truly be completely “French” if you study abroad in Paris? Will you ever lose the identity of American? Regardless of how long you live there or how seamless your accent might be you will always exist in the in-between. While I saw that queer and Latino communities existed on my college campus, until I went abroad, I never saw those two worlds collide. In this Latin-American country, I danced cumbias in gay discos, I watched drag shows in my native tongue, and I even saw a gay pride parade! What Argentina taught me was that the part of my identity that I wanted to hide and avoid was actually the one that would create the strongest bridge. The people I met at these LGBTQ spaces shared an experience with me that superseded cultural barriers and inspired me to be a leader. In fact, Gloria Anzaldua says it beautifully, Being the supreme crossers of cultures, homosexuals have strong bonds with the queer white, Black, Asian, Native American, Latino, and with the queer in Italy, Australia and the rest of the planet. We come from all colors, all classes, all races, all time periods. Our role is to link people with each other. As I have stepped into my role as an advisor for education abroad, I try to highlight these concepts to all students I work with. Freire taught me that without a sense of identity, there can be no real struggle towards liberation. My time abroad broke down the internalized oppressions I felt towards my queer identity and reformed it as an asset. It is our duty to reveal that the space in between is not something to shove in the closet.

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R AINBOW SIG In the Beginning

Scott King, Johns Hopkins University The world of 1990 was very different for LGBTQ individuals, and NAFSA reflected the culture of the time. Even in larger communities, there was little acknowledgement of the existence of those with different sexual orientations and identities and very little support of equal rights. So many of us were excited when the NAFSA Annual Conference included a session on advising gay and lesbian international students. It was a baby step, but even so, the logistics reflected the attitudes of the time. This session could not have been pushed much further into the closet. Not only was it scheduled for the first time slot on Friday—a morning when many want to sleep in after a night of celebration and receptions—the program was being held in a back room of an isolated hotel that required attendees to walk through a construction area! Nevertheless, a packed room of LGBTQ members and many brave allies was pleased to see a discussion of sexual orientation at a national conference.In addition to the great presentation, we used this time to connect and begin a movement in NAFSA. By the following year, an informal network of NAFSAns interested in the LGBTQ movement had developed, and a series of social events were held at the 1991 conference in Boston. A small announcement appeared in a pre-conference newsletter but as the network had no formal recognition, we had to rely on word of mouth to advertise these events. A highlight was the fundraising brunch for a local AIDS service organization, hosted by Paul Kreuger of Northeastern University. The next year, meeting in Chicago, showed how our community had mastered the art of unofficial communication. Once again a local NAFSAn, Mark Thackerberry of Northern Illinois University, arranged activities for LGBTQ (and let’s add the large number of “A” supporters) community. This time around, the events attracted a surprising number of newer, younger members, and even a sprinkling of domestic and international students! While the LGBTQA movement in NAFSA had not yet arrived, at least we were beginning our journey. But, informal connections could only accomplish so much, and a group of NAFSAns began working towards the goal of formal recognition by the 1993 conference, which was appropriately scheduled in San Francisco. Gathering support letters for the application to form a Special Interest Group was somewhat challenging, as they had to be mailed for submission, but more than 80 members— including a large number of NAFSA leaders—helped the petition for the then named “Lesbigay SIG” sail through the NAFSA Board with little controversy. LGBTQA members were no longer in the closet! More than 60 people attended our first meeting and we began what is now 25 years of advocacy, education, service -- and importantly -- celebration.

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R AINBOW SIG Now, a NAFSA conference would not be complete without discussions of advising LGBTQA international and study abroad students, the annual SIG meeting and reception, and openly accepting and supporting the wonderful diversity of our membership, including the diversity of sexual orientation and identity. As we remember the great strides we have made in equality since that conference session in Portland, let us also keep in mind that in too much of today’s world, life remains one of danger and discrimination. Our initial mission to support our students and colleagues continues to be relevant.

Rainbow SIG 25th Anniversary Reception Mike Nieto

In 1993, a small group of our NAFSA community came together in San Francisco for the first meeting of the NAFSA Rainbow SIG. Their aim was simple: to create a community for international educators of all sexual orientations, offering resources for professionals advising LGBT students, and promoting a welcoming and safe environment within NAFSA. It was also at NAFSA nearly seven years ago when the decision was made to partner up with the Fund for Education Abroad and create the Rainbow Scholarship. Since then, we have raised and awarded nearly $80,000 ($12,000 this past year alone) in scholarships. Too many LGTBQ students who come out to their families lose all financial support and, in turn, any access to study abroad. We want to make sure these students are not shut out of the system. Due to the efforts of the Rainbow SIG and its supporters, 22 LGBT students have been funded. On a personal note, it was this Rainbow SIG community that allowed me seven years ago to finally accept who I was and begin the process of living my life in an honest and full capacity. The first time I ever I said the words “I’m Gay” was at the Rainbow SIG Reception in Vancouver, Canada, and to this day, those people that were with me that night have never wavered in their love and support. In 25 years, our SIG has met the goals that we originally set out to achieve, and we’ve exceeded them. It has become a support group, a professional network, and lifelong friends have been made. Each year when we come together at NAFSA, we choose new leaders, we make decisions for the future, we catch up with friends and colleagues, we remember our friends and loved ones that we’ve lost, and we toast to what we have achieved.

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R AINBOW SIG To the founders, to the current and past members, to those who have recently joined and to everyone in between, CHEERS to 25 years! I look forward to celebrating with you all in Philadelphia and look forward to the next 25 years of progress.

Join Us for the Rainbow SIG 25th Anniversary Reception! Voyeur Nightclub 1221 St James Street Philadelphia, PA 19107 Always the best reception of the conference! Meet and mingle with other attendees at this great location. Come for great drinks with friends and help us raise money for the Rainbow Scholarship Fund! Wednesday, May 30th, 2018 8:00 PM – Reception (All are welcome!) 9:30 PM – Speeches and celebration

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R AINBOW SIG Rainbow Regional Representatives REGION I - OPEN REGION II Drew Ross; andrew.ross@asu.edu

REGION VII PJ Shoulders; pshoulders@ceastudyabroad Heath Thompson; hmthompson@ua.edu Brett Reichert; breichert@gsu.edu

REGION III Jeff Simpson; jeff.simpson10@okstate.edu

Region VIII Brett Wobbe; bwobbe1@jhu.edu

REGION IV Will Bonfiglio; boniglio.w@wustl.edu Kristen Albrecht; AlbrechtKL@missouri.edu David Gardner; david.gardner@mnsu.edu

REGION X Rebecca Greenstrom; becky.greenstrom@nyu.edu

REGION V Jesus Velasco; jvelasco@millikin.edu Mark Chung Kwan Fan; chungkw1@msu.edu REGION VI Kyle Hayes; kghayes@iu.edu

REGION XI David Griffin; David_Griffin@emerson.edu REGION XII Shawna Hook-Held; sheld@ucsd.edu Travis Pentz; tpentz@berkeley.edu Outside US Representative - OPEN

Rainbow Leadership Team MEMBERSHIP COORDINATOR RAINBOW CO-CHAIRS • Jennie Weingarten, ‘17-’18; jweingarten@saonet.ucla.edu • Susan Carty (Advisory Board); scarty@iu.edu • Mike Nieto, ‘17-’19; mike.nieto@theinterngroup.com TREASURER • Rick Russo; russo@berkeley.edu NEWSLETTER CO-EDITORS • Sarah McNeely ‘16-’18; SCHOLARSHIP COORDINATORS sarah.mcneely@apiabroad.com • Andrew Rapin, ‘17-’19; andrew.rapin@columbia.edu • Kelly Zuniga, ‘17-’19; kzuniga@saonet.ucla.edu • Erik Gaarder, ‘15-’17; gaarder.1@osu.edu • Jan Kieling , honorary; yaneechay@hotmail.com WEB-CONTENT MANAGERS • Mark Lenhart, honorary; • Evelyn Rosengren-Hovee ‘17-’19; mlenhart@academic-travel.com evelyn@gennexteducation • Luis Legaspi ‘16-’18; llegaspi@ucsd.edu

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Profile for Rainbow SIG

Rainbow SIG Spring 2018 Issue  

The Spring 2018 issues of the Rainbow SIG newsletter.

Rainbow SIG Spring 2018 Issue  

The Spring 2018 issues of the Rainbow SIG newsletter.

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