Canada warns LGBTQ travellers of risks in the US

Ottawa’s latest travel advisory advises LGBTQ travellers to check state laws amid ‘national emergency’ claims.

About 1 million Canadians identify as a sexual orientation other than heterosexual [File: Lynne Sladk/AP]

Canada has warned LGBTQ travellers of the risks of visiting the United States.

Ottawa’s latest travel advisory released on Tuesday warns people who identify as 2SLGBTQI+ – referring to two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning or intersex – to check the laws of the state they are visiting.

“Some states have enacted laws and policies that may affect 2SLGBTQI+ persons,” Global Affairs Canada said in its advisory. “Check relevant state and local laws.”

Asked by reporters about the updated advice, Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said the government has experts on hand to “monitor whether there are particular dangers to particular groups of Canadians”.

“Every Canadian government … needs to put at the centre of everything we do, the interest and the safety of every single Canadian and every single group of Canadians,” Freeland added. “That’s what we’re doing now”.

Dozens of US states have recently passed laws that advocates say curtail LGBTQ rights, including restrictions on gender transitions for minors, prohibitions on transgender people participating in women’s sport and bans on drag shows in public.

In June, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the biggest LGBTQ advocacy group in the US, declared a national state of emergency, citing “real, tangible and dangerous” threats against LGBTQ people.

More than 20 million Canadians travel to the US every year, making their southern neighbour their top destination by far.

About 4 percent of Canadians aged 15 years and older identify as a sexual orientation other than heterosexual, according to government data.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies