Canada has revised its travel advisory to the U.S., signaling an alarming increase in anti-LGBTQ legislation across various American states.
The Canadian notice urges travelers, specifically the 2SLGBTQI+ community – including “2S” for two-spirit individuals from the Native American community – to remain vigilant and informed about state and local laws that might impact them.
According to a Forbes report, Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland emphasized that political reasons did not influence this advisory.
She underscored the Canadian government’s commitment always to protect its citizens, regardless of their identity, emphasizing their dedication to the safety of every Canadian.
The report noted that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security also acknowledged the rising threats against the LGBTQ community, noting that these threats often stem from hate groups and domestic violent extremists.
In particular, transgender women and girls of color have faced a disproportionately high risk of violence for years.
Impact on Tourism and Economy
Safety concerns, including those related to LGBTQ discrimination, gun violence, and other issues, are becoming paramount for travelers.
Per the report, a recent study by Destination Analysts highlighted personal safety as a significant deterrent for many considering a trip to the U.S., only surpassed by cost concerns and fear of gun violence.
The report noted that in 2019, international tourists contributed an estimated $239 billion to the U.S. economy. Although there’s been a nearly 19% decline in Canadian travelers to the U.S. since then, Canadians are expected to account for about 27% of the 62.8 million foreign tourists this year.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has documented an alarming 495 anti-LGBTQ+ bills introduced in state legislatures across the U.S. Of these, 17 states, including Arizona, Florida, and Texas, have introduced more than 10 such bills.
The ACLU highlights the harm these bills cause, even if they don’t become law.
Target and Other Brands Respond to LGBTQ Controversies
As stated in a BBC report, amidst these concerns, U.S. retailer Target has decided to remove specific items from its LGBTQ Pride Collection due to threats and confrontations at some locations.
This move aims to ensure the safety and well-being of its employees amidst these challenging situations. The products being removed, under the Abprallen label, have faced criticism for their use of images such as pentagrams and horned skulls.
The report noted that this incident underscores the broader challenges brands globally face as they attempt to celebrate and promote LGBTQ diversity.
For instance, in Malaysia, a Muslim-majority nation where homosexuality is legally forbidden, authorities recently confiscated rainbow-colored watches from Swatch.
In response, Swatch Group CEO Nick Hayek stressed the apolitical nature of their products and voiced concerns over the Malaysian government’s actions.