About this tool

This electronic toolkit allows employers and Universities to devise specific policy and practice considering LGBTQ+ student and staff engagement with international travel. This also allows individuals to check how their employer or University is supporting them where LGBTQ+ international travel is concerned. The tool is freely available and will be of interest to anyone who is concerned with LGBTQ+ international travel.

LGBTQ+ staff / students face challenges when engaging in international academic mobility. Over 70 countries worldwide retain criminal sanctions for consensual same-sex sexual activity between men, with over 40 criminalising sexual activity between women. Many other laws discriminate on various grounds against LGBTQ+ persons. Yet there is a close link between pursuing international career opportunities and for staff success in their careers. International travel also assists students when progressing their employability.

Together with co-author (Dr Cameron Giles, Lecturer, South Bank University) lead investigator, Dr Frances Hamilton, published a research output following sending Freedom of Information letters to all UK Higher Education Institutes nationwide, which demonstrates that advice given to LGBTQ+ staff and students when regarding international travel is lacking or often does not consider LGBTQ+ persons. (See Frances Hamilton and Cameron Giles, ‘International Academic Mobility, Agency and LGBTQ+ Rights: A Review of Policy Responses to Internationally Mobile LGBTQ+ staff / students at UK HE Institutions with Recommendations for a Global Audience’ Policy Reviews in Higher Education (2021) 1 -22 DOI: 10.1080/23322969.2021.1969990).

This research was furthered by a project exploring the lived-experiences of fifteen LGBTQ+ academics at UK institutions. This second phase project was concerned with interviewee observations of institutional international and globalisation initiatives and the inclusion of LGBTQ+ stakeholder concerns in policies and processes regarding the international travel for work or education by their organisations (conducted by Dr Frances Hamilton and Postgraduate Research Assistant, Tahlia-Rose Virdee).

The combination of these research projects’ findings detail that there is a distinct lack of policy which includes consideration of the specified LGBTQ+ risks, dangers and concerns which cause barriers to access for LGBTQ+ staff considering international travel for work or education purposes.

These findings reveal several important issues and concerns of LGBTQ+ individuals considering international travel in the drafting and implementation of travel policy and practice, including (but not limited to):

  • An entire lack of, or poorly informed, policies on LGBTQ+ employee/ student international travel
  • LGBTQ+ stakeholders not being consulted in the development or informed of LGBTQ+ orientated institutional policies
  • Dismissal of the LGBTQ+ specific concerns of LGBTQ+ international travellers
  • Fear of career progression being impeded by refusal to engage with the institution’s globalisation initiatives
  • Concerns on how to stay safe and avoid discrimination/violence/ prosecution in jurisdictions that are both legally and socially hostile towards LGBTQ+ individuals
  • A lack of policy to safeguard against risk and poorly formed/ conducted objective risk assessments (not considering the LGBTQ+ identity of the international traveller)
  • A lack of redress for discrimination faced in receiving jurisdictions

This tool aims to remedy this by taking users through a series of questions, designed to generate policy in this area. At the end of the tool, users are provided with individual feedback regarding points to consider when developing international academic travel. Individuals will be advised as to which points their employers / universities should consider.

Funding is being used as provided by Research England and allocated by the University of Reading Rapid Response Policy Engagement Scheme.

User Instructions

Users can choose to select two routes. One route is aimed at individual users checking their company or University LGBTQ international travel policy and practice, is simple to use and should only take 20 minutes.

The other button is for business and University users checking or creating LGBTQ+ international travel policy and practice is far more detailed, and should take about 40 minutes to use.

If you consent, the data inputted into this tool will also be used by the researchers, to contact you in the future, to check how the tool has impacted on your institutional / work place policy regarding LGBTQ+ international travel. Personal data stored on this tool will be securely password protected and will only be shared between researchers at the University of Reading.

Once exported, all personal contact details and direct identifiers, will be removed from the data inputted into this tool and an ID code will be used to designate individual records. The data will be stored and kept safe in accordance with the GDPR and University of Reading guidelines. The exported data will be used by researchers to enable us to further research the existence of LGBTQ+ international academic mobility policy and awareness, or the lack of this. We will retain your data for as long as is necessary to fulfil the purposes we collected it for, including for the purposes of satisfying any legal, accounting or reporting requirements. After this point any personal data will be destroyed.

It is anticipated that a publication/s may result from this research. This may involve the publication of responses to this tool which will be suitably de-identified. De-identified data will be archived and preserved and subject to safeguards will be made available to other authenticated researchers.

The research team would like to remind all participants that participation in this study is completely voluntary and the decision to participate is based on informed consent, as set on this Briefing landing page. The tool will take you through a series of questions obtaining your necessary consent in order to proceed to use the tool. As a participant you can withdraw from the use of the tool at any time.

Your right to withdraw your responses to the tool from our research study can take place at any time before 10 days after the date of your use of the tool, after which the data and subsequent analysis of information collected, may be used for publication. The Participant will not need to provide an explanation or reason why they have chosen to withdraw from the use of the tool before withdrawal deadline.

Contact information: Participant may want to keep this briefing landing page for their own reference, and in the case that they have a question or would like to communicate with the research team. The research team can be contacted at either [email protected] or [email protected].

After the study

This tool is centred around developing policy regarding LGBTQ+ international travel. Users of the tool may be required to consider the existence of support policies in the workplace / HEI related to potential barriers to and risks related to international travel when concerning LGBTQ+ identity.  This tool is designed with the aim of minimising the amount of potential distress or discomfort experienced by users.

However, due to the sensitive nature and themes of the topic, the researchers understand that some participants may experience these feelings. It is strongly advised by the research team that if research participants do experience distress or discomfort after the study that they seek appropriate support and advice. In the first instance, participants are encouraged to contact the research team if they have any further queries or questions regarding the study.

For those wishing to maintain their confidentiality and anonymity when seeking support, it is advised that they should approach helpline services such as the Samaritans, Mind or SupportLine. For those who are seeking more specific support, it is suggested that they contact LGBTQ+ and academia-dedicated organisations, such as Stonewall, Galop, Pride in STEM and the Universities and Colleges Union.

Useful contact information

Organisations to approach for potential support

The Samaritans 116 123 [email protected]
Mind 0300 123 3393 [email protected]
SupportLine 01708 765 200 [email protected]
Stonewall 0800 050 2020 [email protected]
Galop 0800 999 5428 [email protected]
MindOut 01273 234 839 [email protected]
Metro LBGTQ+ 0208 305 5000 [email protected]
Human Dignity trust 0207 419 3770 [email protected]
Pride in STEM 01904 328 300 [email protected]
University and Colleges Union 0207 756 2559

Ready to get started?

Friendly text with a call to action for users to sign up and start the process...