Canada has updated its travel advisory to warn LGBTQ residents visiting the United States about local laws and policies that may “infringe on your human rights” amid a rise in legislation targeting gay and transgender people, adding Canada to a list of countries that warn visitors to America about gun laws, mass shooting events and hate crime regularity.
Spurred by what Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland called a need to prioritize the “interests and the safety of every single Canadian,” the country’s advisory page tells residents to check relevant state and local laws and now links to several maps outlining where anti-LGBTQ+ laws are in place worldwide.
Mexico also warns residents that the state of Florida has passed several laws “that could have an unfavorable impact” on LGBTQ+ people, specifically noting anti-trans bathroom bills, and New Zealand warns that LGBTQ+ people or those with “diverse ethnic, cultural and religious backgrounds” could be the targets of “violent crime.”
Venezuela, which is listed by the United States as a do-not-travel country, warns travelers about “indiscriminate hate crimes,” as does Uruguay, which adds a warning about “racism and discrimination” to its travel advisory—the South American warnings came in 2019 after the U.S. saw two large-scale mass shootings kill 31 people within 24 hours.
Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom also warn about common mass shootings—typically defined as gun-related violence with four or more casualties or injuries—as the United States saw more than 600 mass shootings in 2022 compared to 2 in the United Kingdom, 1 in Australia and 4 in Canada.
Germany‘s Ministry of Foreign Affairs tells its residents that Americans are “facing increases in violent crime” and easy access to guns leads to “occasional killing sprees.” Such travel warnings are not uncommon—the U.S., for example, warns travelers of increased terrorist threats in the United Kingdom, civil unrest in Spain and crime in Brazil.
Canada also warns that the gender notation of X on a passport, indicating an unspecified gender, could cause entry problems in some countries (the U.S. allows X as a gender marker for American passports).
The Human Rights Campaign says more than 530 anti-LGBTQ bills had been introduced in U.S. state legislatures by May of this year, with 220 specifically targeting transgender and nonbinary people. Of those, 70 had been enacted by the start of the summer. More than a dozen states have placed restrictions on gender-affirming care for transgender people this year, including Missouri, Kentucky and Alabama, where it is now a felony to prescribe puberty blockers and hormones to transgender minors under 19 years old. Other bills have banned drag shows and censored school curriculum. The Department of Homeland Security warned in May that threats against LGBTQ people were on the rise and FBI hate crime statistics said 20% of all hate crimes in 2021 were motivated by LGBTQ bias.
356. That’s how many anti-LGBTQ hate crimes were documented by the Anti-Defamation League and GLAAD between June 2022 and April 2023.
Journalists Lyric and Asher Fergusson earlier this year published a report on the safest places for LGBTQ people to travel in 2023. They used ten factors to rank countries and included things like whether people were protected from discrimination, if violence against LGBTQ people is illegal, if same-sex marriage is legal and transgender murder rates. The United States was ranked 25th on the list with an overall grade of B+ and the report noted that some states don’t offer protections against discrimination while others prohibit “advocacy of homosexuality” in schools. Canada was rated as the safest country, followed by Sweden, the Netherlands and Malta.