The UK’s Foreign Office has issued a travel advisory for LGBT tourists visiting the US states of North Carolina and Mississippi.
The two states recently passed controversial laws that allow for discrimination against LGBT people.
The Foreign Office says in its travel advice: “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,” the office adds.
The warning was issued ahead of a state visit by President Obama to the UK on Thursday.
“It is both frightening and embarrassing that one of our nation’s staunchest allies has warned its citizens of the risks of travelling to North Carolina and Mississippi because of anti-LGBT laws passed by their elected officials,” commented Ty Cobb, Director of America’s HRC (Human Rights Campaign) Global.
“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’s law removes existing municipal LGBT non-discrimination protections and prevents similar protections from being passed by cities in the future. It also forces transgender people in public schools, universities and state buildings to use restrooms and other facilities inconsistent with their gender identity.
Mississippi’s legislation allows anyone in the state who cites their religious beliefs to deny LGBT people marriage, adoption and foster care services and to refuse to employ them or rent or sell them property.
The laws could have a major impact on the states’ economies following boycotts by outraged companies and performers such as Bruce Springsteen and Ryan Adams.