Canada has issued a travel advisory for LGBTQ people thinking of going to the United States, warning them about the increasingly restrictive local laws.
At least 495 bills attacking LGBTQ rights have been introduced in states throughout the country since the start of the year, according to the ACLU. These include laws banning drag performances, banning transgender people from using the bathroom that matches their gender identity, banning discussion of gender and sexuality in schools, and banning gender-affirming health care for trans and nonbinary minors.
“Some states have enacted laws and policies that may affect 2SLGBTQI+ persons. Check relevant state and local laws,” the Canadian government said in the advisory, which was issued Tuesday. “2SLGBTQI+” refers to people who identify as two-spirit, lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, queer/questioning, intersex, and more.
The advisory does not mention specific states or laws. Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freedland said it is not politically motivated but instead is intended to protect Canadians traveling abroad.
“Even as we work hard on that government-to-government relationship, every Canadian government, very much including our government, needs to put at the center of everything we do the interests and the safety of every single Canadian and every single group of Canadians,” Freedland said at a press conference Tuesday.
“That’s what we’re doing now.”
Canada has become a popular destination for Americans fleeing the U.S. out of fear that they will be persecuted for their identity. And it’s no surprise: Republicans and GOP-led states are increasingly embracing extremist stances on LGBTQ rights, curbing them every chance they get. Several of the Republican presidential candidates have openly embraced anti-LGBTQ stances.