LGBTQ Things To Check Before Traveling
Foreign laws and customs related to sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and s*x characteristics (SOGIESC) can be very different from those in Canada. As a result, you could face certain barriers and risks when you travel outside Canada. Research and prepare for your trip in advance to help your travels go smoothly.
Before you go
Visit the Travel Advice and Advisories pages for your destination countries. The “Laws and culture” tab may contain information on the laws and social customs that could affect LGBTQ2 Canadians there. Watch for laws that:
- criminalize same-s*x activities and relationships
- criminalize people based on their sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and s*x characteristics
Some countries may use laws related to “vagrancy”, “public nuisance” or “public morals” to criminalize LGBTQ2 people.
Research the laws, safety recommendations and social customs related to sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and s*x characteristics in your destination country. Some useful resources include:
- The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association’s State Sponsored Homophobia Report, Trans Legal Mapping Report, and map of sexual orientation laws in the world
- the Human Rights Watch map and research on anti-LGBTQ2 laws
- local LGBTQ2 resources in your destination country
If your passport indicates “X” as a gender marker or if it indicates, "the s*x of the bearer should read as X, indicating that it is unspecified," you might face entry restrictions into some countries that do not recognize your gender.
- Before you leave for your destination, check with the closest diplomatic mission of the country you are travelling to and find out if you could face entry restrictions.
- In some cases, even if your Canadian passport indicates an “X” gender marker, you may still be asked to provide binary s*x information (either Male or Female) when travelling.
- If you have changed your name legally, you have to apply for a new passport. For more information on updating your passport, including updating your gender identifier, see Canadian passports.
- While the Government of Canada recognizes the “X” gender identifier, it cannot guarantee your entry or transit through other countries.
While you are travelling outside Canada, you are subject to, and must follow, the local laws of your destination country, even if these laws infringe on your human rights.
Not all countries have the same values and legal system that we have in Canada. As a result, it is important for you to be informed about the legal framework and social customs governing sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and s*x characteristics in your destination country.
You should always be conscious of your personal, and online, safety while you travel. Be conscious of your online presence and any public-facing content that may disclose information about your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and s*x characteristics. Depending on your destination, this information may affect your safety or have legal implications.
- Assume that your social media accounts can be viewed by local authorities. Police can easily track your location and the websites you visit through your phone. Carefully consider the information you’ve shared online before travelling.
- In countries where LGBTQ2 people are persecuted, you should assume that police are monitoring LGBTQ2-themed websites, apps, and visitors to these platforms. Some police or malicious actors may create fake online profiles to entrap users.
- Be wary of new-found “friends”, especially those that you meet online or through dating apps, as criminals sometimes target LGBTQ2 people.
- Be cautious about public displays of affection, including kissing and holding hands, and how they may be perceived in countries where LGBTQ2 persons face discrimination.
Carefully consider whether you are comfortable visiting a destination where the laws and social customs affecting LGBTQ2 people differ from those in Canada.
In many countries, only heterosexual relationships between cisgender people are recognized as legal and accepted by society.
In some cases, same-s*x relationships are not recognized, and are criminalized. Even if your relationship is legally recognized in Canada, this may not be the case abroad.
Local laws in destination countries may be enforced or applied inconsistently. For instance, countries that criminalize same-s*x relations may also use the law to criminalize gender identities and gender expressions.
In some contexts, even if there are no legal concerns related to sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and s*x characteristics, you may face discrimination or harassment if social customs are challenging for LGBTQ2 people.
When you are planning to travel outside Canada, consider that:
- Legislation on LGBTQ2 relationships may change from one region to another, even within the same country.
- While there may be no laws prohibiting LGBTQ2 relationships, they may be considered socially unacceptable or stigmatized.
- Your destination may have laws that protect LGBTQ2 persons and their relationships, but the laws may not be not followed or enforced.
- Depending on your destination, you may be denied access to certain services and rights as a couple. For example, health care institutions may not recognize your relationship status. They may deny you visitation rights or even legal rights, such as next-of-kin rights. Your hotel bookings could also be refused when you arrive.
You may face discrimination because of your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and s*x characteristics.
- You may be denied services in your affirmed gender while you are travelling outside Canada.
- Health services specific to transgender people could be limited or non-existent in your destination country.
- You could also face barriers in a foreign justice system that does not recognize or may criminalize your sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and s*x characteristics.
Carefully consider whether you as an LGBTQ2 person are comfortable travelling with your child or letting them travel alone to a destination where the laws and the social context differ from those in Canada.
Canadian children should carry a consent letter if they are travelling abroad alone, with only one parent or guardian, with friends or relatives or with a group. Children from LGBTQ2 families travelling alone may face unique issues, even if travelling with a consent letter.
Foreign border officials may question LGBTQ2 families travelling with children and may ask for documentation to confirm that the child is travelling with a parent. Carry certified copies of documentation that list the custodial parents, including birth certificates or adoption orders, if applicable.
If you are considering becoming a parent through a surrogacy contract or adoption abroad, be aware that LGBTQ2 couples may face discrimination from national authorities responsible for child welfare.
Some countries may prevent LGBTQ2 people from adopting a child because it is against their laws, culture or beliefs. You could face discrimination from national authorities responsible for adoption.
- Carefully research countries that have laws in place to allow LGBTQ2 people to adopt a child.
- Work closely with your provincial or territorial adoption central authority to ensure the adoption process complies with the legislation and procedures both in Canada and in the other country.
- Inform consular officials of any harassment or inappropriate treatment you may have faced. They may be able to help you.
- Consular officials can also help if you are arrested and detained, are ill or injured, or are facing an international custody problem. For more information on consular services see the Canadian Consular Services Charter.
- Any information you provide will remain confidential, subject to the provisions of the Privacy Act. For more information see Consular Policy Regarding the Use and Disclosure of Personal Information.
Stay away from highlyyyyy religious cities lol
Will use the help services listed here and check them out
I just got a new ID issued with the s*x I orient myself with and was wondering how traveling might be