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Safety warning issued for LGBTQ+ international travelers for Pride Month

A person sitting in an airplane seat gets a travel alert.

With Pride month just around the corner, the U.S. State Department has issued a “Worldwide Caution” advisory for LGBTQ+ travelers. The warning highlights potential safety risks linked to attending Pride events and visiting LGBTQ+ venues internationally. This comes amid growing global tensions and increasing concerns about the safety of LGBTQ+ individuals.

The advisory encourages LGBTQ+ travelers to stay vigilant and exercise extra caution while traveling abroad. While many international destinations are welcoming, some countries have laws or cultural norms that can pose serious dangers to LGBTQ+ people.

The State Department’s advisory outlines several key points:

Legal Risks: LGBTQ+ travelers should research and understand the legal status of LGBTQ+ rights in their destinations. In some places, same-sex relationships are still illegal, and public displays of affection can lead to severe penalties, including imprisonment.

Cultural Sensitivity: Even in countries where LGBTQ+ rights are legally recognized, cultural attitudes vary widely. Travelers should be mindful of local customs and societal norms to avoid unwanted attention.

Heightened Threats: There’s been an increase in anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and actions globally, including targeted attacks and discrimination. Travelers are urged to stay updated on current events and follow any additional warnings from local authorities.

In addition to the State Department’s caution, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security issued a joint public service announcement for domestic travel. It, too, comes at a time of growing concern over the safety of LGBTQ+ events within the United States, emphasizing the possibility of targeted violence at Pride events and LGBTQ+ spaces.

The agencies warn that Foreign Terrorist Organizations’ efforts to commit or inspire violence against holiday celebrations, including Pride celebrations or LGBTQ+ venues, are compounded by the current heightened threat environment in the United States and other Western countries.

The PSA also noted that June 2024 will be the eighth anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub Orlando shooting, during which the attacker killed 49 and wounded 53 people. 

Resources for LGBTQ+ Travelers

If you’re planning to travel, whether internationally or domestically, several resources can help you evaluate the safety and inclusivity of various destinations:

  • Spartacus Gay Travel Index: This index provides detailed information on LGBTQ+ rights and social acceptance in over 200 countries and regions. It ranks destinations based on criteria like anti-discrimination laws, marriage equality, and social acceptance.
  • Movement Advancement Project (MAP): MAP offers detailed reports and interactive maps outlining the legal landscape for LGBTQ+ individuals across the United States. It covers issues ranging from employment protections to healthcare access, helping travelers understand the varying levels of LGBTQ+ rights and protections in different states and cities.
  • ILGA World: The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association provides reports on the legal status of LGBTQ+ individuals worldwide. Their annual “State-Sponsored Homophobia” report is especially useful for identifying countries with hostile legal frameworks.
  • Equaldex: This collaborative platform tracks LGBTQ+ laws and rights globally, offering real-time updates and community-sourced information.
  • U.S. State Department’s LGBTQI+ Travel Information: The State Department’s website provides specific travel advice and resources for LGBTQ+ travelers, including country-specific information and safety tips.

LGBTQ+ travelers are also encouraged to connect with local LGBTQ+ organizations and communities in their destination cities. This can offer firsthand insights into the local climate, recommend safe spaces, and provide support networks. Engaging with these communities enhances personal safety and enriches the travel experience by fostering connections and understanding.

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