Embargo Period


Degree Name

MA in International Education

First Advisor

Dr. Sora Friedman


College is a time when many students begin exploring their sexual orientation and gender identity. Washington State, and Seattle in particular rank high in support for the LGBTQ community, according to the Municipality Equality Index put out by the Human Rights Commission. The schools that are represented in this study serve approximately 2,000 international students annually.

LGBTQ international students are a demographic that inhabits two minority groups – international students and LGBTQ students, and there is a lack of ongoing support and access to resources to aid these students in their personal growth during their time in community college. This study examines how community colleges in Washington State can increase visibility and access to LGBTQ resources on campus for international students and what impact that increased visibility and access may have on campus climate and student experience. Informed by queer theory, globalization theory, and postcolonial theory, the value of increased visibility and accessibility of resources becomes clear through interviews with International Student Services staff and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion staff at Washington State Community Colleges. The findings of this study include four themes: perceptions of student experience, resources available for international students, how LGBTQ resources are advertised to students, and barriers to access for LGBTQ international students. Implications for community colleges include increased staff and administrator training, additional interaction with LGBTQ student clubs and affinity groups, and more open conversations about social justice and minority struggles in the United States.


International and Comparative Education | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies