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Northern Ont. pride communities caution against travel to the U.S.

At least two northern Ontario pride communities are warning 2SLGBTQ+ members against travel to certain areas of the United States.

The move comes a day after the Canadian government issued a travel advisory to the U.S. due to “laws and policies” that can affect them and their safety in the country.

North Bay Pride spokesman Jason Maclennan said he is advising against travel south of the border out of an abundance of caution.

“You get shot for displaying a pride flag,” he said, in reference to the recent murder of a California business owner because she had a rainbow flag hanging outside her clothing store.

On Tuesday, the Canadian government updated its international travel advisory warning members of the 2SLGBTQ+ community that they may face discrimination if they travel to some places in the U.S.

“I feel really tragically sorry for the (pride) communities that live in the United States,” said Maclennan.

The move comes after at least 18 American states passed laws that limit or ban things relevant to the pride community, including gender-affirming medical care for minors and teaching about sexual orientation in school classrooms.

Nickel Belt Liberal MP Marc Serré calls the steps taken “unfortunate” but recognizes there are ongoing issues surrounding hate and discrimination.

“The government has to play a role,” said Serré.

North Bay Pride spokesman Jason Maclennan said he is advising against travel south of the border out of an abundance of caution. (Eric Taschner/CTV News)

“But more importantly, we have to educate people more and more. The warning here is unfortunate, but there are issues.”

Maclennan said the bans are clearly discriminatory.

“Leaders have no business acting like that. That’s why it’s so important for leaders to stand with community,” he said.

“Nobody is looking for extra rights. We’re just looking for the right to exist.”


U.S. lawmakers have passed more than 500 anti-2SLGBTQ+ bills in state legislatures this year alone.

Fierté Sudbury Pride vice-chair Laur O'Gorman places the blame on “far-right” laws and culture in America that have spread hate and misinformation here at home.

O’Gorman, who uses pronounces they/them, said it’s not a surprise that an advisory was put in place.

“A lot of people in Canada who have similar politics to the far-right in the United States, are taking notes and bringing that here,” they said.

“It should not be on us to see how safe it is to travel. Especially in the United States, when they talk about how important freedom is to them.”

In its advisory, Global Affairs Canada didn’t specify which states or which laws are of concern.

When asked about the change Tuesday, Canadian Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said travel advisories issued by Global Affairs Canada are based on advice from professionals in the department whose job it is to monitor for particular dangers.

She would not confirm whether the federal Liberals discussed the matter with President Joe Biden, but said the relationship with the U.S. is one of the most important for the government. Top Stories

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