LGBTQ+ Canadians urged to be careful in US due to new laws

The Canadian government wants its LGBTQ+ citizens to be cautious when visiting some states that have passed anti-LGBTQ+ bills.
Parade grand marshal Fae Johnstone waves a Pride flag from a convertible during the Capital Pride Parade in Ottawa.
Posted at 11:53 AM, Aug 30, 2023

While as a whole, the Canadian government tells its residents to take normal precautions when visiting the U.S., LGBTQ+ Canadians are urged to be extra cautious when traveling to the U.S. 

The updated guidance is now included in the Canadian government's U.S. travel advisory.

"Some states have enacted laws and policies that may affect 2SLGBTQI+ persons. Check relevant state and local laws," the guidance says, without specifying states or localities. 

A spokesperson for the Canadian government told CBC News the guidance was prompted due to a number of anti-transgender laws. 

"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 spokesperson said in a statement to the CBC. "The information is provided to enable travelers to make their own informed decisions regarding destinations. Outside Canada, laws and customs related to sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics can be very different from those in Canada."

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The American Civil Liberties Union said it is tracking 495 anti-LGBTQ+ bills throughout state legislatures across the U.S. this year. While a handful of states, like New York and Illinois, have none, most are considering at least some bills that the ACLU claims would harm LGBTQ+ people. 

Of those 495 bills, 83 have already been signed into law. Twenty-three mainly Republican-leaning states have passed the bills. Tennessee and North Dakota have passed the most with 10 each.