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Canada Issues Travel Advisory for Its LGBTQ Residents Visiting the US

The warning was prompted by state laws including bans on drag shows and gender-affirming care.

Air Canada planes are seen at the Toronto Pearson Airport in Toronto, Canada, on June 12, 2023.

This week, the Canadian government updated its travel advisory for residents of the country who are planning to visit the United States, warning potential travelers who are LGBTQ that some states should be navigated with caution.

The change reflects concerns among Canadian officials about dozens of anti-LGBTQ laws that have been passed in the U.S. over the past year.

As recently as Tuesday morning, the country’s travel advisory website didn’t include a warning for Canadian LGBTQ travelers. But later in the day, the site was updated to caution travelers about policies that certain U.S. states had enacted.

The top of the site remains unchanged, instructing travelers to “take normal security precautions” and noting that “regional advisories” should be considered. Further down, the newly-added advisory for LGBTQ travelers states the following:

Some states have enacted laws and policies that may affect 2SLGBTQI+ persons. Check relevant state and local laws.

The advisory does not list specific states that have passed laws that may affect LGBTQ travelers.

Global Affairs Canada, the department that manages diplomatic and consular assistance, gave a statement to CNN about the developments that led to the change.

“Since the beginning of 2023, certain states in the U.S. have passed laws banning drag shows and restricting the transgender community from access to gender-affirming care and from participation in sporting events,” the department said.

Canada is not alone in its warning to LGBTQ people — indeed, several advocacy groups in the U.S. have issued similar warnings, with some singling out specific states over draconian laws targeting LGBTQ people.

In April, for example, Equality Florida issued an advisory warning travelers from within the U.S. and abroad that Florida “may not be a safe place to visit or take up residence” because of its multitude of laws targeting LGBTQ people.

That advisory singled out Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-Florida), stating that he “has also weaponized state agencies to impose sanctions against businesses large and small that disagree with his attacks on diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

In June, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) issued a state of emergency for LGBTQ people living in the U.S. — the organization’s first such statement in four decades.

“The sharp rise in anti-LGBTQ+ measures has spawned a dizzying patchwork of discriminatory state laws that have created increasingly hostile and dangerous environments for LGBTQ+ people,” the group said.

Many of the new laws, particularly those targeting transgender people, have resulted in thousands of people fleeing their home states for parts of the country that may be safer or more welcoming. According to an analysis from Erin Reed, a journalist and trans rights activist, recently passed anti-LGBTQ state laws have prompted between 130,000 and 260,000 transgender people and their families to move from their homes.

Many more are considering a move.

“Over a million people, themselves contemplating relocation in the coming months, remain in a state of apprehensive vigilance, awaiting the potential signal that they too must bid farewell to their homes,” Reed wrote. “The current trend doesn’t just underline a social trend; it underscores a profound human rights issue unfolding on our soil.”

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