The UK Foreign Office has issued an updated travel warning to their citizens traveling to the USA and many find it embarrassing, not to mention what it may do to tourism. An average 3.8 million visit the U.S. from Britain every year, but will these numbers now wane? The UK warns that the southern states may pose some risks to the LBGT community and they cite the “legislation passed recently in the states of North Carolina and Mississippi” as their basis for this warning.
That would be the so-called “Bathroom Bill” in North Carolina and the “Religious Bill” in Mississippi. In North Carolina the law states you must use the bathroom for the gender you were born with even if you are a transgender person. In Mississippi they can legally deny services like counseling, wedding planning and adoption support to the LGBT community if it goes against your religion without punishment, for this refusal.
DB Techno News reports on April 22, the UK does state that “the US is an extremely diverse society and attitudes towards LGBT people differ hugely across the country.” So at least folks know there are states that would more than welcome their visit and thankfully the UK Travel Bureau didn’t tag the country as a whole with backward thinking.
The UK’s LGBT warning states:
“The US is an extremely diverse society and attitudes towards LGBT people differ hugely across the country. LGBT travelers may be affected by legislation passed recently in the states of North Carolina and Mississippi. Before traveling 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.”
The warning also suggests that all citizens acquaint themselves with the laws for controlled substances for the states they plan to visit. Many of the states hand down strict sentences if you are carrying something not legally allowed in that state, the warning basically conveys.
The warning for possession states:
“Possession or trafficking of a controlled substance in the United States can carry a severe prison sentence and/or fine. Check with each state you are intending to visit to make sure you comply with the personal possession and consumption laws of controlled substances within those states. A list of all types of controlled substances, as listed under the Controlled Substances Act, can be found on the US Department of Justice website.”
CNN News reports that North Carolina and Mississippi have already seen threats for millions of dollars in lost business due to the controversial new laws on their books. Now with this new UK travel warning, tourism is at risk in the southern states. The warning is posted on the UK Foreign Office website and appears under the heading of “local laws and customs.” The warning passes along some potential problems for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LBGT) people.
While North Carolina and Mississippi’s laws are laws governing these individual states, this new UK warning puts the entire nation in somewhat of an embarrassing light. America should not be a country that you need to pick your states carefully when visiting, it sounds so backwards and against the grain of what this country prides itself on, diversity.