Buyer beware: UK advises LGBTQI travellers to be mindful of new US laws allowing discrimination against them.
Drew Sheldrick

22 Apr 2016 - 11:45 AM  UPDATED 22 Apr 2016 - 11:45 AM

The United Kingdom has issued a travel warning for LGBTQI people thinking of travelling to US states with new laws allowing discrimination on the basis of sexuality and gender identity.

The UK government's travel advice website now advises same sex-attracted and gender diverse people visiting the US to be mindful of the laws, which vary from state to state.

"The US is an extremely diverse society and attitudes towards LGBT people differ hugely across the country," the website states.

"LGBT travellers may be affected by legislation passed recently in the states of North Carolina and Mississippi. Before travelling 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."

Mississippi approves 'LGBT segregation'
A new law will allow businesses to refuse service to same-sex couples in Mississippi, drawing parallels to racial segregation in America's south.

Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant approved legislation earlier this month which makes it legal for both private business owners and government workers to refuse services to same-sex couples if it is in keeping with their “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions”.

It was the latest in a series of state bills claiming to defend religious freedom. In March, North Carolina's governor signed into a law a bill that overrides all local ordinances that ban discrimination against gay, bisexual and trans people in regards to wages, employment and public accommodation. The bill will also force trans people to use bathrooms according to the gender on their birth certificates.

Georgia's governor vetoed similar legislation only after large corporations threatened to boycott the state.

There is no specific warning for LGBTQI Australians travelling to the US on the Australian government's SmartTraveller website, but there is broad advice on taking into consideration a country's laws before planning an overseas trip.