Canada warns LGBTQ travelers to U.S. to be cautious of local laws

Canada warns LGBTQ travelers to U.S. to be cautious of local laws

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Canada updated its international travel advisory on Tuesday to warn LGBTQ+ travelers of laws and policies in some U.S. states. 

The advisory extends to U.S.-bound Canadians who are 2SLGBTQI+ (two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer, questioning, intersex and more). 

The advisory could impact an estimated 1 million LGBTQ+ Canadians.

While the advisory doesn’t dive into specific U.S. states or policies, a Global Affairs Canada spokesperson pointed to laws passed in the U.S. this year banning drag shows, restricting gender-affirming care and blocking participation in sporting events.

The American Civil Liberties Union is currently tracking 495 anti-LGBTQ bills in the U.S.

The Canadian government’s LGBT Travel webpage notes that around the world, travelers can face barriers and risks outside Canada. 

“Foreign laws and customs related to sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics (SOGIESC) can be very different from those in Canada,” the website says.

Travel advisories and advice are only issued after a thorough analysis of information sources, including consular trends observed by Canadian diplomats, according to Global Affairs Canada. 

Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, a former foreign affairs minister, said Tuesday that she supported the update, CBC reported.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau marching at the 39th Annual Toronto Pride Parade on Sunday June 23, 2019 in Toronto, Canada.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau marching at the 39th Annual Toronto Pride Parade on Sunday June 23, 2019 in Toronto, Canada.

George Pimentel/Getty Images


“Every Canadian government, very much including our government, needs to put at the center of everything we do the interests and the safety of every single Canadian, and of every single group of Canadians,” she said. “That’s what we’re doing now. That’s what we’re always going to do.”

When asked about Canada’s updated travel advisory, a U.S. State Department spokesperson said: “The United States is committed to promoting tolerance, inclusion, justice, and dignity while helping to advance the equality and human rights of LGBTQI+ persons. We all must continue to do this work with our like-minded partners not only in the United States, not only in Canada, but throughout the world.”

Within the U.S., the Human Rights Campaign issued its own travel advisory for LGBTQ+ travelers in Florida in recent months. In June, the organization went a step further and declared a “state of emergency” for LGBTQ+ Americans. Alongside the national warning, the organization issued a guidebook to help LGBTQ+ residents and travelers stay safe.

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