The Experiences of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Queer International Students

A Systematic Review


  • Hoa Nguyen Valdosta State University
  • Erika Grafsky Virginia Tech
  • Jennifer Lambert-Shute Valdosta State University



international students, LBGTQ, migration, minority stress, sexual identity


There is a significant research gap in understanding the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer (LGBQ) international students. The purpose of this systematic review is to explore what we currently know about LGBQ international students, by synthesizing peer-reviewed and gray literature that focused on this intersection of sexual and cultural diversity. A total of 10 records met the inclusion criteria and were examined. Out of these 10 records, 6 were empirical studies. Findings from this analysis highlighted the salience of: (a) identity formation and migration, (b) the double barrier of being an international student and LGBQ, and (c) multi- layered discrimination and heteronormativity. We then provide suggestions for future research and implications for mental health professionals, educators, and university administrators.


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Author Biographies

Hoa Nguyen, Valdosta State University

HOA N. NGUYEN, PhD, is an Assistant Professor in the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at Valdosta State University. Her area of research focus on the coming in, coming out stories of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and queer international students and immigrant families. Email:

Erika Grafsky, Virginia Tech

ERIKA L. GRAFSKY, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Human Development and a faculty affiliate of Women and Gender Studies, as well as Health Sciences at Virginia Tech. Erika's scholarship is focused on psychosocial health and well-being of sexual and gender minority individuals and their families, as well as affirmative therapy practices. Email:

Jennifer Lambert-Shute, Valdosta State University

JENNIFER LAMBERT-SHUTE, PhD, is a full Professor in the Marriage and Family Therapy Program at Valdosta State University. Her primary research interests focus on issues in training marriage and family therapists, gerontology, and working with older adults. Email: