Intersectionality of Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual International Students: Impact of Perceived Experiences on Campus Engagement

Andrew S Herridge, Hugo Alberto Garcia, Mi-Chelle Leong
Journal for the Study of Postsecondary and Tertiary Education  •  Volume 4  •  2019  •  pp. 049-065

While there are studies that examine the experience of LGB or international students, we are not aware of any study that examines both intersectionalities. In this study, we attempt to be the first to examine the experiences of international LGB students and the resources they utilize on campuses.

This research provides an understanding of how this population of students interact with the campus environment, how they perceive the campus climate, and what impact their interaction and perceptions have on their performance and overall outcomes.

This narrative qualitative research study was guided by the unifying model of sexual identity development and the model of multiple dimensions of identity. This study conducted semi-structured interviews with eleven participants from two states to attain a deeper insight and perspective on the experiences of LGB International students.

With this population of students being understudied in the larger body of literature, the result of this research will allow for institutional staff and future researchers to gain additional insight into the experiences and outcomes of international students that identify as a member of the LGB community.

The respondents indicated a mixture of experiences based on their sexual orientation and national identity. Emerging themes for RQ1 were Fear, Isolation, and Openness. Respondents expressed the utilization of a wide variety of resources from campus based on online resources. Emerging themes for RQ2 were Campus Based Resources, Online Resources, and Negative Experiences.

Based on these findings, institutions of higher education can promote the resources available to students within these populations. Institutions should be intentional in supporting the spiritual and religious needs of international LGBTQIA students to aid in the holistic development of their students.

It is recommended for researchers to explore how international students who identify as LGBTQIA students experience community colleges.

Future research should explore how staff, administrators, and faculty attempt to support students from regions of the world that are very conservative as they recruit students from those regions.

LGBTQIA, international students, intersectionality, student engagement
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