When Americans travel to other countries for the first time there are usually a myriad of concerns we cycle through and attempt to protect ourselves from. Want to go to France? Terrorists! Italy? Italian Mafia! Mexico? Drug cartels! We are sometimes deluded into believing the USA is impervious to these sort of high profile problems, those are false fantasies.
What are some of the concerns non-Americans have when they come to the good ole USA? Gun violence? Check. Gang activity? Check. LGBT+ hate crime? Well now you can check that too. Within the last couple of weeks, the UK Foreign Travel Office updated their USA travel warnings to include travel to the states of Mississippi and North Carolina for LGBT+ travelers because of recent discriminatory legislation. To the UK's credit, they framed the warning in the most delicate way possible. Because, you know, Americans like to shoot things.
Muggings, crime and general violence are par for the course in all major cities. Some may be worse than others, but there is always that danger. Travel is about experiencing other cultures. It's about becoming a global citizen. How can we be a part of that global culture when we allow discriminatory legislation pass in our states? Both states have (likely) already suffered economically due to government-funded travel bans by politicians such as WA Governor Jay Inslee and PayPal's canceled operations facility. It's one thing to have travel warnings for specific cities, but it's entirely another to have travel warnings for entire states.
Unfortunately for Americans, this looks bad for us - all of us. It's embarrassing. These aren't even the only states with LGBT+ related legislation in the pipeline at the moment. That, coupled with Donald Trump (Tiny Hands) dominating the news as well as leading in the Republican presidential race puts the USA in a bad position nationally. We are beginning to look like a bunch of intolerant, racist, homophobes. Legislation like this is fodder for anti-LGBT+ movements outside of the USA. Whether we like it or not, we set an example for the rest of the globe. Minority groups have been fighting so hard to push this country forward for decades and as of right now we appear to be back pedaling.
I'm going to tell you something that may shock you: Transgender people have been around since before the creation of modern bathrooms. They have already been sharing public bathrooms with you for decades. And guess what? Nothing bad happened! Same sex marriage and LGBT+ protections do not suddenly give potential attackers permission to follow you into a bathroom. If they wanted to, they would have already. Laws aren't going to prevent that from happening. All these laws do is alienate a group of people who are already alienated by society at large on a regular basis. All they do is make the USA look bad. As if we don't have enough embarrassing things going for us already.
Do we really want to be a country represented by Tiny Hands and legislators who can't accept the fact that there are LGBT+ persons in their midst? Trans people aren't new. Homosexuals aren't new. We've always wanted the same things as everyone else. Just leave us alone. Don't let the USA become a country that LGBT+ kids warn each other about traveling to.
Editor's Note: The views and opinions expressed on our Artist Corner and Blog are exclusively of the author and do not reflect the views and opinions of Punk Out as an organization.