In today’s edition of all that ways that the Republican Party has brought shame to our nation and embarrassed us in the eyes of the world, the United Kingdom has issued travel warnings for their LGBT tourists over concerns of how they would be treated in red states like Mississippi and North Carolina. The passage of LGBT discrimination laws in these states has triggered a firestorm of criticism and a tidal wave of bad press as businesses and celebrities pull out of their obligations with those states in protest.
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. You can find more detail on LGBT issues in the US on the website of the Human Rights Campaign.
Advice for LGB&T travellers while overseas
- avoid potentially risky situations – don’t do anything that you wouldn’t at home
- excessive physical shows of affection, by both same-sex and heterosexual couples, are often best avoided in public
- if you intend to visit cruising areas or internet chat rooms find out about the local situation – police in some countries have been known to carry out entrapment campaigns
- be wary of new-found ‘friends’- criminals sometimes exploit the generally open and relaxed nature of the gay scene
- if you receive unwelcome attention or unwelcome remarks it’s usually best to ignore them
- you’re more likely to experience difficulties in rural areas so it’s best to exercise discretion
- some resorts can be quite segregated – when you are outside the ‘gay neighbourhood’ expressions of sexuality may be frowned upon
- some hotels, especially in rural areas, won’t accept bookings from same sex couples – check before you go
In 2014, the United States had 88.3 million tourists visit, providing a total of $1.47 trillion dollars a year to our gross domestic product (GDP). The intolerance of our Republican legislatures is now beginning to threaten crucial sectors of economy and tarnishing our image overseas, which has already taken quite a beating from the rise of rabble-rousing racist Donald Trump and the religious extremism of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX). How much longer are we going to tolerate these homophobic white men ravaging their state economies to wage ultimately fruitless cultural battles?
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.