UK Travel Warning Showcases Global Effect of Anti-LGBT Legislation
PHOTO: The world is taking notice of U.S. treatment of the LGBT community (courtesy Thinkstock)
The effects of anti-LGBT legislation in Mississippi and North Carolina have now gone global effect. America’s closest ally, Great Britain, has issued a travel warning to its citizens, advising them to take caution when traveling in certain areas of the U.S. – namely, North Carolina and Mississippi.
The UK Foreign Travel Office said this on its foreign travel advice page:
“The US is an extremely diverse society and attitudes towards LGBT people differ hugely across the country. LGBT travellers may be affected by legislation passed recently in the states of North Carolina and Mississippi. Before travelling please read our general travel advice for the LGBT community.
It also refers LGBT citizens to the Human Rights Campaign for further information.
The warning comes just as President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are headed to the UK to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday.
UK LGBT travel company OutofOffice.com noted that it's clear that the UK Foreign Office didn't make this decision lightly.
"With the laws changing on a regular basis in the U.S., it's clear that the country is seen as a potentially difficult place to travel to," said OutofOffice.com founder Darren Burn. "Seeking up-to-date advice is imperative for LGBT travellers no matter where they are visiting on their travels."
North Carolina’s HB2, more commonly referred to as the “bathroom law,” is a a statewide policy that bans individuals from using public bathrooms that don't correspond to their biological sex at birth.
Mississippi’s “religious liberties” law, which takes effect in July, allows businesses and religious groups to deny services to the LGBT community if it goes against their religious beliefs. Such services include counseling, wedding planning and adoption support, among others.
Similar to the North Carolina law, the Mississippi legislation will also block cities from allowing transgender people to use the public bathroom for the sex with which they identify and from passing nondiscrimination laws.
The Human Rights Campaign released a statement on its website reacting to the legislation, saying “It is both frightening and embarrassing that one of our nation’s staunchest allies has warned its citizens of the risks of traveling to North Carolina and Mississippi because of anti-LGBT laws passed by their elected officials,” said Ty Cobb, director of HRC Global. “It is now more clear than ever that these terrible measures are not only harming individuals and taking an economic toll on the states, but are also causing serious damage to our nation’s reputation and the perceived safety of LGBT people who travel here.”
Reaction on Twitter was a combination of shame and outrage.
Wow we should be embarrassed! Britain issues travel warning for LGBT people headed to U.S. https://t.co/pPKdfHVw0Q— Buck Angel® (@BuckAngel) April 21, 2016
American Shame: Our Closest Ally Issues Travel Warning For LGBT Tourists Visiting The South - https://t.co/YSMXEJJ5QU— Carlos Ray Thompson (@MrPapiChulo2U) April 21, 2016
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