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Abroad Programs: Utilizing Theory to Support and Affirm LGBTQ Student Narratives

  1. ABROAD PROGRAMS: UTILIZING THEORY TO SUPPORT AND AFFIRM LGBTQ STUDENT NARRATIVES Erin Miller: Study Abroad Coordinator, Residence Coordinator, UNC School of the Arts Jacquis Watters: Assistant Director of Housing Operations, Loyola University Maryland
  2. OUR STORIES I am an educator who thinks globally. -Paulo Freire
  3. SETTING THE STAGE • Goals and Learning Outcomes • Method to Our Madness • Exploring Framework • terminology & tenants to keep in mind • overview of multiple theories • intersection of multiple theories • Student Narratives • Our Recommendations • Strategies • Q&A
  4. GOALS AND LEARNING OUTCOMES Session participants will: • gain a basic understanding of critical race and lgb/queer theory • be able to articulate the significance of exploring LGBTQ personal identities in light of critical race and queer theory • become well-versed on how to implement multicultural competency and identity dialogue into staff trainings, orientations, exchange, and re-entry practices • be able to assist students in reframing their study abroad experience in a holistic way
  6. METHOD TO OUR MADNESS • Terminology of Framework • Theoretical Framework • d’augelli’slife span model of lesbian, gay, and bisexual development (1994) • critical race theory (1980s -) • queer theory (1990) • Student Narratives • what did students have to say?
  7. TERMINOLOGY OF FRAMEWORK • Gender Identity • an individual’s innate, psychological identification as a man, woman or other gender, which may or may not correspond to the sex assigned to them at birth • Gender Expression • socially defined external characteristics and behaviors associated with masculinity and femininity • Sexual Identity • an individual's physical and/or emotional attraction to an person • Identity • an individual’s or community’s conception and expression; socially constructed • Intersectionality & Complexities of identity • inclusion of social identities (race/ethnicity, gender expression, socio-economic status, sexual identity, ability, age) • multiple social identities add layered lenses to an individual (spirituality, education, cultural context, political affiliation) • LGBTQQIP2SA acronym
  8. D’AUGELLI’S LIFE SPAN MODEL OF LESBIAN, GAY, AND BISEXUAL DEVELOPMENT (1994) • Developed from Cass’Model of Homosexuality Identity Formation/Coming Out (1979, 1984) • Concurring and multiple paths • Suggest sexual identity is very fluid at times and fixed at others Six Identity Processes Existing Heterosexuality Developing a Personal LGB Identity Developing a LGB Social Identity Becoming a LGB Offspring Developing a LGB Intimacy Status Entering a LGB Community
  9. CRITICAL RACE THEORY (CRT) • Grew from political and legal frameworks • Offers a radical lens to deconstruct and challenge structural neutrality (racism is ordinary not aberrational) • examines issues around race, racial identity and racism • Storytelling • Explores hegemonic narratives of power and privilege • Explores counter narratives from marginalized racial identities • Recognizes that there is not one simplistic, unitary identity • Notion of intersectionality (coined by Kimberle Crenshaw)
  10. QUEER THEORY (1990) • Stems most visibly from subcultural and political activism • i.e. Civil rights movement, gay liberation • What is that historical development? • modernism • structuralism • post-structuralism & postmodernism • Traces the historical development of social concepts that are responsible for shaping the definitions of “sex” and “gender.” • expression//identity vs biological sex • cisgender • trans* • ask me about my asterisk • Identity politics, non-conformity, and influence of dominant heteronormative binary
  11. TENETS TO TAKE WITH YOU Critical Race Theory • Racism in politics, the economy, and education is constant and pervasive • neutrality doesn’t exist • Oppression is multifaceted • Microaggressions can be embedded into everyday conversations • racism can take place consciously or unconsciously LGB & Queer Theory • Awareness of self/self narrative • Community connection • Categorization and construction of identities yield dynamics of power • nonconforming sexual and gender identities (i.e “queerness”) • conventional norms -> tools to oppress
  13. STUDENT NARRATIVES Hiding One’s Identity Lack of Conversation Safe Spaces
  14. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRACTICE Pre-departure While Abroad Re-Entry Year Round Commitments
  15. RECOMMENDATIONS To address issues significant to LGBTQ students is not to alter the agenda, but to be more inclusive to the real needs of the participants. -NAFSA: Association of International Educators -Rainbow Special Interest Group, 2008
  16. RECOMMENDATIONS • Establish a zero-tolerance policy for anti-LGBTQ actions/behavior • Review orientation and re-entry programs, brochures, website, etc • Collaboration • develop confidential support programs for LGBTQ participants to share experiences and advice • implement Safe Zone education for faculty, administrators • sponsor, support, and create campus- wide LGBTQ events (panel discussions, films, guest speakers, webinars, etc) • Training of Staff • Awareness • Bystander Intervention • safe environment • Discussions • personal narrative • naming one’s own reality • different POVs • Observant • accountability • aware of environment • cultural and international differences Year Round Commitments
  17. RECOMMENDATIONS Advising • Provide holistic advising • Know your student, know their pronouns • Intentionally exploring the interplay of multiple identities & how these might impact program options • Understand and integrate LGBTQ development models into advising • Speak out when you hear micro-aggressions • self-directed or outward Orientations • Partner with the Multicultural Affairs to integrate discussions of multiple identities and social acceptance • Explore the multilayered concepts that create culture and identity • Integrate LGBTQ statistics & info about the destination country • Avoid a heteronormative perspective in handouts & resources • Host a Peer-led LGBTQ discussion group led by returners Pre-Departure
  18. RECOMMENDATIONS • Encourage deeper immersion into the host culture through community involvement, when possible • Local organizations serving marginalized populations • Affinity group participation • Attendance at community activities for identity-specific causes • Include information about relationship safety in on-site orientations • Explore the ways in which their experience abroad can lead into academic opportunities • Discuss personal experiences with cultural acceptance and norms • Emphasize awareness of the personal changes they experienced • (Re)Connect students with the multicultural center as a support resource and potential creative outlet While Abroad Re-Entry
  19. Equaldex
  20. RESOURCES Books • Pedagogy of the Oppressed • The Art of Effective Facilitation: Reflections from Social Justice Educators • Readings for Diversity and Social Justice • Building Cultural Competence: Innovative Activities and Models Websites • Human Rights Watch ( • Equaldex ( • The National Center For Transgender Equality’s Travel Considerations ( • It’s Pronounced Meterosexual( • Rainbow SIG (
  21. QUESTIONS? Jacquis Watters email: Erin Miller email:
  22. REFERENCES • Achterberg, C. (2002). Providing a global perspective: an educator’s duty. About Campus, 6, 17-22. • Braskamp, L.A., Braskamp, D.C., Merrill, K.C. (2009). Assessing progress in global learning and development of students with education abroad experiences. Frontiers: The Interdisciplinary Journal of Study Abroad, 13, 101-118. • Carsello, C., & Creaser, J. (1976). How college students change during study abroad. College Student Journal, 10, 276-278. • Clarke, I., Flaherty, T. B., Wright, N. D., & McMillen, R. M. (2009). Student intercultural proficiency from study abroad programs. Journal of Marketing Education, 31, 173-181. • Dalton, J. (1999). The significance of international issues and responsibilities in the contemporary work of student affairs. New Directions for Student Services, 1999(86), 3-11. • Delgado, R., & Stephanic, J. (n.d.). Critical Race: An Introduction. Retrieved from asdf • and-definitions
  23. REFERENCES • Gwyn, K. & Okazawa-Rey, M. (2010). Identities and Social Locations: Who am I? Who are my people?. Readings for Diversity and Social Justice. 2nd edition., 8-14. • Hunter, W.D. (2004) Got Global Competency? International Educator. Retrieved from • Jones, S. R., Kim, Y. C., & Skendall, K. C. (2012). (Re-) framing authenticity: Considering multiple social identities using autoethnographic and intersectional approaches. The Journal of Higher Education, 83(5), 698-724. • McIntosh, P. (1988). Whiteprivilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack. In P. McIntosh, White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming to See Correspondences through Work in Women's Studies.Wellesley, MA:Wellesley College Center for Research on Women.Retrievedon February 25, 2013 from • Mikdashi M., and Puar J., “Pinkwatching and Pinkwashing: Interpretation and its discontents” Jadaliyya and-pinkwashing_interpenetration-and-
  24. REFERENCES • Morey, A.I. (2000). Changing higher education curricula for a global and multicultural world. Higher Education in Europe, 25, 25-39 • Puar, J. (2013). Homonationalism As Assemblage: Viral Travels, Affective Sexualities. Jindal Global Law Review, 4(2). Retrieved from • Sadowsk, M. (2013). In a queer voice: Journeys of resilience in adolescence to adulthood. • Scharman, J.S. (2002). The extended campus: safety abroad. New Directions for Student Services, 99, 69-76 • William B. Turner. A Genealogy of Queer Theory. Philadelphia: Temple University Press.