The Canadian government has issued a cautionary advisory to its LGBTQ+ citizens regarding potential risks when traveling to the United States, citing recent legislative developments in certain states. The updated advisory, posted on Tuesday, encourages travelers to be aware of local laws that could impact 2SLGBTQI+ individuals. The term “2SLGBTQI+” encompasses Two-Spirit and other LGBTQ+ identities as defined by the Canadian government.
Global Affairs Canada explained that since the start of 2023, specific states in the US have implemented laws that ban drag shows and impose restrictions on transgender individuals, affecting access to gender-affirming care and participation in sports. The advisory refrains from specifying the states or laws in question.
This advisory follows the declaration of a national state of emergency for LGBTQ+ individuals in the US by the Human Rights Campaign in June. The organization’s president, Kelley Robinson, highlighted the real threats faced by the LGBTQ+ community, including violence and a surge in homophobia and transphobia, prompting families to seek refuge in safer states.
The updated Canadian travel guidance also offers comprehensive advice for LGBTQ+ travelers, including the potential risks linked to foreign countries’ laws and customs concerning sexual orientation, gender identity, and expression. It underscores that disparities in these areas could lead to challenges and vulnerabilities while traveling abroad.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland defended the decision to update the advisory, emphasizing the government’s responsibility to prioritize the safety of all citizens. She reiterated that professionals within the government consistently monitor global conditions to ensure the well-being of specific groups of Canadians.
Although Freeland did not address whether US President Joe Biden was informed beforehand, the US State Department stated its commitment to promoting equality, human rights, and inclusivity for LGBTQI+ individuals. The department acknowledged the collective effort required globally to advance tolerance and justice.
CNN reached out to the US Embassy in Ottawa for comment but received no response. However, the embassy recently expressed support for Ottawa’s Capital Pride Festival, highlighting the theme “Get Proud, La Fierté Haut et Fort,” which emphasizes celebrating LGBTQ+ pride together.