Canadian Pride Communities Discourage US Travel Amid Safety Concerns for 2SLGBTQ+ Members


In the wake of recent advisories from the Canadian government, two Pride communities in the northern region of Ontario have raised concerns, discouraging 2SLGBTQ+ members from traveling to certain parts of the United States. This deterrent comes due to established “laws and policies” in those regions that may jeapardize their safety.

Concern over the safety of Canadian LGBTQ+ members has emerged, with North Bay Pride spokesman, Jason Maclennan, advising against travel to the south of the border. “You get shot for displaying a pride flag,” Maclennan mentions, referring to the recent tragic incident involving the killing of a California business owner for hosting a rainbow flag outside her apparel shop.

Just this Tuesday, the Canadian government revised its international travel advisory, cautioning the 2SLGBTQ+ community that they might face discrimination upon visiting certain locations within the United States. Maclennan expresses his deep sympathy for the Pride communities residing in the States.

This warning comes on the heels of at least 18 American states passing laws that impose restrictions or outright bans on matters concerning the Pride community, such as prohibiting gender-affirming medical care for minors or teaching about sexual orientation in classrooms.

Marc Serré, Liberal MP for Nickel Belt, deems these measures regrettable but acknowledges that hate and discrimination remain ongoing problems that need to be addressed. “The government has to play a role,” insists Serré. He continues, emphasizing the importance of increasing education on these issues. He further reiterated Maclennan’s point that these bans are inherently discriminatory, noting, “Leaders have no business acting like that. […] We’re just looking for the right to exist.”

Pointing out the ‘far right’ culture, it is observed that more than 500 anti-2SLGBTQ+ bills have been enacted by state-level lawmakers in the United States this year alone. Fierté Sudbury Pride vice-chair, Laur O’Gorman, believes the blame rests on the “far-right” laws and culture in America, claiming this has propagated hate and misinformation.

For O’Gorman, the issuance of the travel advisory isn’t a surprise. They denounce the spread of similar far-right attitudes in Canada and, importantly, underline their expectation of safety. “It should not be on us to see how safe it is to travel,” says O’Gorman, stating that safety is a universal right and not a privilege.

Without specifying states or specific laws, Global Affairs Canada issued its advisory. When probed about the matter on Tuesday, Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland maintained that the travel advisories issued by Global Affairs Canada only rely on insights from experts within the department who keep track of potential hazards. Freeland didn’t confirm whether discussions with President Joe Biden took place, but highlighted the pivotal nature of the U.S.-Canada relationship in the eyes of the government.


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