Canadian Govt Warns LGBTQ+ Travelers About New U.S. Laws

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Cecilie Johnsen

The Canadian government is cautioning travelers to the U.S. about new state laws that target the LGBTQ+ community.

In a Sept. 1 update to its United States Travel Advice, the global affairs department of the Canadian government noted, “Some states have enacted laws and policies that may affect [LGBTQ+] persons. Check relevant state and local laws.”

In a press statement, agency spokesperson Jeremie Berube elaborated: “Since the beginning of 2023, certain states in the U.S. have passed laws banning drag shows and restricting the transgender community from access to gender-affirming care and from participation in sporting events.

“Outside Canada, laws and customs related to sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics can be very different from those in Canada,” added Berube. “As a result, Canadians could face certain barriers and risks when they travel outside Canada.”

The Canadian government did not name any specific states in the advisory.

However, states that have passed laws to restrict drag show performances include Tennessee, Texas, Montana, Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota.

Another 23 states have passed laws restricting transgender athletes’ ability to participate in school sports in accordance with their gender identity.

And 21 U.S. states have passed laws banning gender-affirming care for transgender youths up to age 18, according to the Human Rights Campaign, which issued its own warning about LGBTQ+ travel to the U.S. in June.

LGBTQ+ Community Faces ‘State of Emergency’

“When another country is affirming the state of emergency that LGBTQ+ people in the U.S. are currently living through, it only further validates the grim reality that our community is facing,” said Human Rights Campaign president Kelley Robinson. “These declarations are anything but theatrical. This year alone, over 500 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been introduced in state legislatures throughout the country, with over 220 of those bills specifically targeting transgender people. Over 80 anti-LGBTQ+ bills have been signed into law this year, more than any year on record. We are seeing this political extremism also manifesting into real life, fatal violence.”

“LGBTQ+ Americans are living in a crisis and it’s vital that LGBTQ+ people stay informed about the risks and realities when traveling to and throughout the U.S.,” said Robinson.

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