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UK Releases Travel Warning Regarding Some U.S. Anti-LBGT Laws

Dorathy Gass

The new, and controversial, laws recently established by Mississippi and North Carolina regarding lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LBGT) rights might already be wreaking havoc when it comes to tourism dollars and loss of business for the United States. The UK government recently issued a travel warning regarding potential risks when visiting these areas, for the British LBGT communities.

Issued by UK’ s UK Foreign Office and published on their website, the government has placed the warning below the heading of ‘local laws and customs’, and provides insights on possible issues that LBGT people may encounter when travelling to these states within the U.S.

CNN reported the warning does highlight that the United States is diverse, with attitudes differing largely when it comes to the LGBT community. It goes on to note that LGBT visitors may be affected by recent legislation passed in Mississippi and North Carolina.

The advisory was released just prior to the visit of U.S. President Barack Obama and his wife Michelle; visiting the nation to celebrate the 90th birthday of Queen Elizabeth.

Mississippi’s House Bill 1523 takes effect in a couple of months, this July, and will allow religious groups and business to deny LGBT people services like wedding planning, counselling, as well support around adoption. Also known as the ‘bathroom law’ North Carolina’s HB2 law, focuses in on the transgender community, banning people from using bathrooms that aren’t consistent with what biological gender they were at birth. Apparently there are also over 100 bills now pending, across 22 states, that could affect the LGBT community.

America now joins the list of a number of territories and nations where UK’s Foreign Office has needed to post advisories for their LGBT residents. While the advice provided in the advisory is general, it does note that worldwide attitudes can be quite different to those within the UK, however it also notes that it is unlikely that travelers will have issues if they ensure to prepare themselves for their visit, and research their vacation spots before they travel.