(The Hill) — Canada is warning LGBTQ travelers to the U.S. they may face discrimination and possible harassment because of dozens of recently passed state laws that target LGBTQ people.
The Canadian government in an update posted Tuesday said LGBTQ Canadians considering a trip to the U.S. should “check relevant state and local laws” before visiting, warning that “some states have enacted laws and policies that may affect 2SLGBTQI+ persons.”
The updated travel advisory does not specify which states LGBTQ travelers should avoid, and the risk associated with travel to the U.S. is still the lowest possible. Visitors are advised to “take similar precautions to those you would take in Canada” when traveling to the U.S.
Canada’s warning comes amid a historic year for anti-LGBTQ state legislation in the U.S., with nearly 500 bills introduced by lawmakers in 46 states, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU). At least 83 have become law, more than doubling last year’s total.
In April, the St. Petersburg-based LGBTQ rights group Equality Florida issued a travel advisory of its own, warning both domestic and international travelers to Florida that the state “may not be a safe place to visit or take up residence” because of new laws that target LGBTQ people, restrict access to reproductive health care and relax firearms restrictions.
The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBTQ civil rights group, the following month also cautioned against travel to Florida and in June declared a national state of emergency for LGBTQ people in the U.S., citing the passage of laws in states across the country that target LGBTQ people, particularly transgender youths.
Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland during a press conference on Tuesday told reporters that the nation’s updated travel advisory is not politically motivated and is meant to keep Canadian citizens as safe as possible abroad.
“As someone who has had the real privilege of serving as Canada’s foreign minister, I know that our travel advisories are done very professionally,” she said.
“We have professionals in the government whose job is to look carefully around the world and to monitor whether there are particular dangers to particular groups of Canadians,” Freeland added. “That’s their job and it’s the right thing to do.”