The UK is now warning people about going to the US over the anti-LGBTI laws in North Carolina and Mississippi.
The Foreign Office gives advice about British persons traveling to different countries, such as advice on dressing modestly in predominantly Muslim areas. There is specific guidance for LGBTI travelers for places like Russia, noting the country’s ‘gay propaganda’ law, and Turkey, where public displays of affection between same-sex couples could lead to attacks.
Gay Star News questioned the Foreign Office for failing to provide LGBTI tourists with detailed advice in respect of the risks in countries traditionally thought to be Western or progressive, like the US.
GSN pointed out that due to the anti-trans bathroom law in North Carolina, and the ‘religious freedom’ law that gives license to discriminate against LGBTI people in Mississippi, British tourists could be in danger if they are unaware of the risks.
If a trans person, used to the comparatively liberal regime of the UK, might find themselves in serious difficulty such as being forced to use bathroom facilities that did not correspond to their identified gender or facing the possibility of even being arrested and held in a male prison if they’re a trans woman and a female prison if they’re a trans man.
Previously, the Foreign Office steadfastly refused to provide detailed advice for LGBTI travelers limiting itself to a general notice that warned gay, bisexual and trans people to take care while abroad.
But now, the Foreign Office has changed its advice.
Published today, the new guidance reads: ‘The US is an extremely diverse society and attitudes towards LGBT people differ hugely across the country. LGBT travelers may be affected by legislation passed recently in the states of North Carolina and Mississippi.
‘Before traveling please read our general travel advice for the LGBT community (link above). You can find more detail on LGBT issues in the US on the website of the Human Rights Campaign.’