Canada yesterday updated its travel advice for citizens. It’s now alerting LGBTQ+ travelers to be aware of discriminatory laws sweeping the U.S. and to check the situation in any state they plan to visit.
The updated guidance states “Some states have enacted laws and policies that may affect 2SLGBTQI+ persons. Check relevant state and local laws.”
It offers no further information beyond that.
Although lawmakers attempting to pass anti-queer laws in the U.S. is nothing new, 2023 has proved to be a bumper year for such legislation. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is tracking around 500 such laws this year, of which 83 have passed. That’s twice as many as last year.
Most infamously, Florida last year passed its Parental Rights in Education law, more commonly referred to as ‘Don’t Say Gay’. It prohibits the discussion of LGBTQ+ issues in schools. This year, it was expanded to all school years.
At least a couple of Pride festivals in Florida were canceled this summer after the state enacted a ban on drag shows in front of minors. Tennessee has also banned drag shows in front of minors, although a judge has temporarily put the legislation on hold.
Gender-affirming care has been banned for trans minors in several states, and Florida has also introduced restrictions for some trans adults.
Warnings against Florida travel
Earlier this year, LGBTQ+ rights organization HRC issued a travel advisory for anyone planning to visit Florida. It followed in the footsteps of Equality Florida, which had done the same a few weeks previously.
Kelley Robinson, President of the Human Rights Campaign said in a statement in May, “Those who visit must join us in their vocal opposition to these dangerous policies. Those who pick another place to work, to go to school or to spend their vacation should make clear why they’re not heading to Florida.”
Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said at a press conference yesterday she supported the update.
“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, reports CBS. “That’s what we’re doing now. That’s what we’re always going to do.”
The United States is the top travel destination for Canadians. The overall risk profile for the U.S. remains at green, indicating a normal security precautions requirement.
Won’t somebody think of the children?
“When you have the kind of rhetoric that is being espoused in Florida and adopted into law, that’s not an option if my child isn’t safe there.”