LGBTQ+ Abroad
Ali, Spring, Florence
May 16, 2024

A “PACE” Flag showing Pride

With anywhere you go aboard, it’s important to do your research on many aspects of life. The food, the language, the currency and the politics and laws. The laws are especially important as things you might have known to be okay, are illegal in another country. In this time of uncertainty, it is especially important to do so as a member of the LGBTQ+ community.

Admittedly, I did not do this as much as I should have. As I do not outwardly flaunt my identity as part of the community out of personal preference. But as someone who is part of an minority, even in the LGBTQ+ community, I was extra cautious. However, the longer I stayed and the more I learned about my country’s laws and outlook on the community, the more comfortable I became with my identity as a member of the LGBTQ+ community while abroad.

A Window Display of a New Pride Item Collection for June

Italy is accepting of the community in terms of its policies and laws, with exceptions. Non-binary genders are not recognized and many sexualities are banned from the military. Yet, I have walked down the streets of Florence and seen many rainbow flags with PACE in white letters: Peace. And with June coming around, some of the stores have item collections to celebrate pride. The region of Tuscany hosts a Pride festival in Florence in November. There were even openly gay bars scattered throughout the city, with a strong LGBTQ+ tourism community.

While abroad, I didn’t feel unsafe or that I had to hide my identity. I was open about my sexuality and gender identity to anyone that inquired. And I even felt like I was honored to teach others apart of the community about my identity and experience coming into that identity. I am a proud asexual panromantic who uses She/They pronouns.

Passing by more Pride Flags in Rural Florence Italy

I had an amazing experience and got to meet many other members of the LGBTQ+ community while I was abroad. Making lifelong friendships and connections. But once again, I tell anyone of any community, LGBTQ+ or any otherwise, do your research and know your rights as an individual before you decide to go abroad. Italy was accepting of certain parts of the community but not others. Other countries might not be so supportive.

Take pride in yourself and who you are, but be knowledgeable in your decision making of where to study abroad.

Written by: Ali, Spring 2024 Florence student from Winthrop University

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