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Recruiting as an LGBTQ+ International Educator

By Emily Meadows
Recruiting as an LGBTQ+ International Educator

The recruiting season for international schools is full of thrills, offering anticipation of new experiences and growth for participants. However, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and other non-hetro/cisgender people (LGBTQ+) have additional factors to consider when recruiting for a job overseas, as some schools and regions are friendlier to sexual minorities than others. Allies, too, will prefer to work in a setting that respects and includes all people, regardless of gender and sexuality.
Before heading into interviews, it is important to assess your level of comfort in discussing your personal life with a potential employer (it’s very common for recruiters to ask about your family, for example). It is also prudent to have a clear idea about your priorities and expectations in terms of how diverse and inclusive your place of work and potential new home should be. Before you sign, consider the following as you evaluate your fit with a potential school:
Benefits – It is no secret that some international schools prioritize hiring married couples over singles or non-married partners. Even if offered a position, you may find that a school (or the school’s host country) does not recognize your partner or spouse. This could lead to issues such as complications in obtaining your partner’s visa, if they are a dependent, or other immigration hurdles. It may also impact your benefits package, such as being offered a reduced housing allowance (i.e., that of a single person rather than a family), or being denied the standard relocation travel stipend for your partner. In order to ensure that all family members will be looked after by the school, ask about these details before committing to a contract.
School Policy – Keep in mind that international schools often establish policies tailored to their specific needs, which can differ significantly from place to place. Some schools explicitly prohibit harassment and discrimination on the basis of sex and gender, whereas others do not necessarily provide these protections. Depending on the school, a transgender person may be denied access to the appropriate bathroom, for example. Ask administrators to ensure that their policies reflect a school of inclusion and equality.
School Climate – The reality is that many international schools function as tight-knit communities, and the people you work with, in many cases, end up being the people you live and play with. Try to get a feel for whether the school climate is inclusive, or if it perpetuates heteronormativity. Are there out faculty members on staff? Is there a gay-straight alliance on campus? The answers to these questions can provide some insight about whether the school is welcoming and meeting the needs of a diverse community.
Local Context – Certain countries strictly forbid same-sex partnership by law, some may neither prohibit nor recognize same-sex relationships, and others still might provide more security for same-sex couples than your home country does. The cultural setting of where you move can impact everything from the ability to go on a date in public to the availability of suitable healthcare for non-hetero/cisgender people to the extension of tax benefits to same-sex couples. Local LGBTQ+ organizations (if there isn’t one, that tells you something, too) are an excellent resource for sussing out whether the area is safe and accessible for all.
Many LGBTQ+ educators thrive in an international environment and contribute a valuable element of diversity to their school community, enriching the educational experience for students and faculty members alike. Nonetheless, many locations still do not provide equitable employment for sexual minorities, and LGBTQ+ teachers may face discrimination as they recruit overseas. The situation will hopefully shift soon so that schools and recruiters are bearing the burden of ensuring that all of their employees are treated fairly. Until then, an awareness of the potential barriers for LGBTQ+ educators—and how to avoid them—will make it easier for sexual minorities and their allies to find the right match of employment this recruiting season.

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01/23/2017 - Thomas Williams
I was wondering if anyone knew of International Schools that are truly friendly, open and recruiting LGBTQ faculty? Please let me know.

01/18/2017 - Le'i
Would like to see one of these for the disabled people.

Or for older teaching veterans 60 plus.

Or minorities in real leadership positions.

In all my years Internationally, I have yet to see ONE disabled person hired.

And I met a slew of older people who are made to feel less capable due to their age.

We need to stop the hypocrisy.



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