International Safe Zone: Supporting LGBTQ+ Students and Counselor Educators in the U.S. and South Korea

Publication Date

November 2018

Document Type


Publication Title

West American Counselor Educators and Supervisors (WACES)

Conference Location

Sonoma, CA


Despite visibility of LGBTQ rights in the United States, in many countries around the world people with non-heterosexual identities are not accepted or even persecuted (Quach, Todd, Hepp, & Mancini, 2013). The presenters discovered that finding safe places to share experiences, and have access to information offers tremendous support to students and educators from those countries, and established International Safe Zone to support this population. International Safe Zone includes a workshop and a virtual safe zone on Flipboard (a magazine-like mobile application) as a place to share information through the curation of stories about LGBTQ rights and activism as well as coming-out stories from LGBTQ people around the world.This work led to a collaborative research project between a Korean University and California State University, Fresno investigating the identity development of sexual minorities on Korean college campuses. This qualitative study consisted of in-depth, individual interviews with college students who self-identified as LGBTQ. Four themes emerged the data: a) expression of universal needs; b) awareness of sociocultural violence; c) manifestations of unmet needs; and d) co-creating an inclusive culture. The presenters will present the research findings as well as their work to promote awareness of the unique needs and challenges of sexual monitories through International Safe Zone.Presentation Outline a) Introduction (10 min) – review current status of international LGBTQ students and a brief overview of International Safe Zone b) Collaborative Research Project (10 min) – present the research and main findings c) Workshops for Counselor Educators and Students (10 min) – discuss the uniqueness of LGBTQ rights in Korea and other countries; d) Virtual Safe Zone (5 min)- describe the use of Flipboard ; e) Conclusion (10 min)- discuss educational and research implications; and f) Q & A (5 min)


Advocacy and Social Justice, College Counseling, Counselor Education, LGBTQIA Counseling, Technology

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