Global Affairs Canada, a government arm charged with managing diplomatic relations and providing consular assistance, issued a safety advisory for Canadian LGBTQ community who plan to visit or reside in the United States.
“Watch for Laws That Criminalize Same-Sex Activities and Relationships”
The agency didn’t specify what states were included in the advisory. However, it urged travelers to check local laws before going to a specific destination.
However, the government of Canada provided a brief synopsis of the things that LGBTQ+ travelers should be on the lookout for:
“Watch for laws that criminalize same-sex activities and relationships [and] criminalize people based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics.”
The move comes after several Republican-led states, including Florida, passed laws affecting LGBTQ+ communities over the last year.
Criminalizing Transgender People
The laws passed by Republican legislatures across the country restrict access to gender-affirming care, criminalizing transgender people for using the restroom that matches their gender identity, and allowing schools to misgender and forcibly out transgender and non-binary students, among other things.
In Florida, HB 1069, which has been enacted into law, silences educators by prohibiting any instruction on sexual orientation or gender identity from Pre-K through 8th grade, expanding the “Don’t Say LGBTQ+ Law” passed last year.
“Conversations About Sexual Orientation and Gender Shouldn’t Start at an Early Age”
The bill, passed in Florida in 2022, also known as the Parental Rights in Education bill, that critics infamously called the “Don’t Say Gay” limits LGBTQ discussion in schools, effectively saying that conversations about sexual orientation and gender shouldn’t start at an early age. It also gives parents the final say about what their children learn and at what age.
“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,” Jérémie Bérubé, a spokesman for Global Affairs, said in a statement.
“Canadians Could Face Certain Barriers and Risks When They Travel Outside Canada”
“Laws and customs related to sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics can be very different from those in Canada,” the statement added.
“As a result, Canadians could face certain barriers and risks when they travel outside Canada.”
In June, The Human Rights Campaign, the biggest U.S. organization that aims to protect the rights of LGBTQ+ people, declared a state of emergency for the LGBTQ+ community in the U.S., saying that travel advisories alone aren’t enough to help people living in the states that passed laws targeting LGBTQ people.
Earlier, The NAACP, which advocates for African Americans, issued a travel advisory for Florida, joining a group of other organizations, including the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), a Latino civil rights organization, and Equality Florida, a gay rights advocacy group, in issuing travel advisories for the state.
Florida’s Broward County, home to popular resort town Fort Lauderdale about 30 minutes north of Miami, said losses were mounting as more conventions decided to stay away, citing fear for safety of diverse groups participating in these events amid “unfriendly political environment.”
Large Conventions Are Already Going Elsewhere!
So far, 14 conventions previously scheduled for Florida have decided to go elsewhere, according to a report published by the South Florida Sun Sentinel.
The Associated Press analysis found that many bills seeking to ban or restrict gender-affirming health care for transgender youth, who have been the primary targets of state legislation this year, sprang from the pens of a few powerful conservative interest groups.
“It’s Not a Good Image on the U.S”
“There are 500 anti-LGBTQ pieces of legislation making their way through various state legislatures at the moment,” said Helen Kennedy, the executive director of Egale Canada, an LGBTQ+ rights group in Toronto. “It’s not a good image on the U.S.”
Similar policies have been recently enacted in the provinces of Saskatchewan and New Brunswick, which now require parental consent when children under 16 years old want to use different names or pronouns at school.
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Source: The Guardian