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Study Abroad in a Homophobic Country

Discussion in 'General Support and Advice' started by PennyT, Aug 18, 2018.

  1. PennyT

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    I am going to spend a few weeks in Poland, and I'm really excited about going to Europe and meeting new people. However, Poland isn't gay-friendly. From what I've read online, it's not like death-penalty anti-gay, but it's give you weird looks and maybe punch you anti-gay. I'm not too worried about my safety or anything, because I look and act very "straight" most of the time, but I don't know what it's going to be like, experiencing cool new things while knowing that a good chunk of the people around me think I'm unnatural or something. Anyone experienced something similar or have advice?
     
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  2. Destin

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    Just don't mention your sexuality and you'll be fine. Chances are you'll never see any of the homophobia since you're only there for a few weeks.

    As for experiencing new things around homophobic people - half of the United States think we're unnatural too, so it won't be any different in that aspect, if you can have fun doing cool things here then you can over there too.
     
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  3. CuriousLad

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    Well I live in a homophobic country and people don't really care unless you start snogging on the streets.
    You still have to be vigilant though and be careful with who you disclose your sexuality to.
    For safety in and around gay clubs you'll have to consult with locals
     
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  4. Lin1

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    As a foreigner visiting the country for a few weeks you are at a very low-risk of being at the receiving end of homophobia, not least because (I assume) you don't speak nor understand polish. Two of my closest queer female friends are polish and from what I got from them, while older people have more of a problem with it, none of them have actually had to deal with extreme homophobia or anything while in Poland.

    I have lived in homophobic countries and it's mostly about, being respectful of your environment. No PDA in the streets and maybe only coming out to people who you trust.
     
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  5. tystnad

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    Honestly, Poland really isn't that bad. To grow up in and spend a significant portion of your life as gay person, particularly in more rural areas - oh yeah, definitely. But to visit for a couple of weeks? You'll probably be fine, especially since you look like you could be straight. If you don't bring your sexuality up yourself, it's unlikely to be a topic that's discussed frequently (homophobes do tend to have better things to do than chat about how awful they think homosexuality is all the time). If you stay in one of the larger cities, there might even be a gay scene and little explicit homophobia. I've been to many eastern european cities in less lgbt friendly countries including Poland and aside from some of those small groups of religious people who try to convert you on the street (which you'll find anywhere, even in very progressive countries), whether or not people thought gay was something unnatural didn't actually change my experience (you can never know what an individual thinks, anyway). Those things do start to matter when you stay for a more extended period of time but for a couple of weeks, it'll probably be fine. More so, as an international student you'll likely be around people who are somewhat more progressive in general: younger, higher educated people who are open to hanging out with internationals or even are international students themselves.

    So I agree with the people above about avoiding overt PDA and not coming out to every stranger you meet on the streets. However, while it is good to be wary, try not to lot expectations of lgbt unfriendliness overwhelm your experience. It's really easy to worry about what people think of your sexuality so much that their actual attitudes no longer matter.
     
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  6. NotRealMe

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    Hmmm... I don't know... I live in Lithuania, which is a country that has a border with Poland. Lithuania is definetely homophobic, but maybe not that much as Poland is. Sometimes, on the news channel you can see that a Polish gay student was beaten badly in Poland. Thousands of people marching with signs like "You can't deny God" or "Family=Man+Woman", etc. I feel like it's a super conservative country. 100% of the population is catholic. In one of Lithuanias' newspapers I've read that there was a survey which questioned 1000 people about gay people adopting kids. 80% said it's wrong, it's against God and constitution...
     
  7. Vega222

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    Maybe this is irrelevant, But we have many Polish tourists (Comparing to other countries) here in Iran and I see they're quite nice and funny. :grin:
    They're also very tall and love Volleyball. :face_palm:
     
  8. Vega222

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    You have Gay clubs there in India? What do you mean by "locals"?
     
  9. CuriousLad

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    Haven't been to any so I've no Idea. They're probably more secretive.
    My advice to Penny T was general about clubs or cruising spots in any country, homophobic or not. It's always wise to take tips from locals who know best how to travel safe on their turf
     
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