Britain has issued a new warning for LGBT travelers visiting parts of the United States: Be wary.
“The U.S. is an extremely diverse society and attitudes towards LGBT people differ hugely across the country,” the advisory stated. “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.”
The advisory encouraged travelers to avoid potentially risky situations and “excessive physical shows of affection,” and to “exercise discretion” in rural areas.
The advisory also provided links to the Human Rights Campaign website as well as to a world map produced by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association that highlights countries with anti-LGBT legislation.
“It is both frightening and embarrassing that one of our nation’s staunchest allies has warned its citizens of the risks of traveling to North Carolina and Mississippi because of anti-LGBT laws passed by their elected officials,” Ty Cobb, director of Human Rights Campaign Global, said in a statement Wednesday. “It is now more clear than ever that these terrible measures are not only harming individuals and taking an economic toll on the states, but are also causing serious damage to our nation’s reputation and the perceived safety of LGBT people who travel here.”
North Carolina passed House Bill 2 last month, a controversial piece of legislation that was dubbed “the most anti-LGBT bill in the country.” It repealed all local ordinances banning discrimination against LGBT people in the state, and banned transgender people from using certain public restrooms.
A few weeks later, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant (R) signed legislation allowing businesses to deny services to gay couples based on religious objections.
Several companies, including Deutsche Bank, PayPal, Pepsi, Lionsgate and Hewlett Packard, took action in response to the new laws. Entertainers like Bruce Springsteen, Ringo Starr, Pearl Jam, Bryan Adams and Cirque de Soleil also canceled events in these two states.
North Carolina has reportedly lost millions in lost tourism revenue since the discriminatory law passed. According to a report from the Center for American Progress, more than half a billion dollars in economic activity could be threatened in North Carolina because of HB2.