Canada has raised concerns about potential risks for LGBTQ travellers planning visits to the United States. The advisory, released by Ottawa on Tuesday, specifically addresses individuals identifying as 2SLGBTQI+ (two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, questioning, or intersex).
The advisory recommends that these travellers familiarize themselves with the laws of the state they intend to visit.
Global Affairs Canada underscored that certain states in the US have implemented laws and policies that could impact 2SLGBTQI+ individuals. The advisory highlights the importance of checking the relevant state and local regulations to ensure a safe and informed visit.
Addressing questions from reporters about the updated guidance, Canada’s Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland emphasized the government’s commitment to prioritizing the safety and interests of all Canadians. She stated that the government employs experts to continuously assess potential risks to various groups of Canadians.
The backdrop of this advisory includes recent legislative changes in numerous US states that have drawn criticism from advocates for LGBTQ rights. These laws have been accused of limiting LGBTQ rights in areas such as gender transitions for minors, participation of transgender individuals in women’s sports, and public drag shows.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the largest LGBTQ advocacy group in the US, declared a nationwide state of emergency in June. The organization cited significant and concerning threats against LGBTQ individuals as the reason for the declaration.
Approximately over 20 million Canadians travel to the United States annually, making it the predominant international travel destination for Canadian citizens.
Data from the Canadian government reveals that about 4 percent of Canadians aged 15 years and older identify with sexual orientations other than heterosexual. This advisory underscores the importance of awareness and preparedness for LGBTQ travellers in light of the evolving legal landscape in various US states.