State Department Issues Travel Advisory

Airport waiting area with luggage. Credit - Getty

The U.S. Department of State issued a worldwide travel advisory on Friday due to a “potential for terrorist attacks, demonstrations, or violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests,” the agency announced.

The State Department specifically pointed to increased violence against LGBTQ+ people and pride-related events as a reason for the advisory. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s 2022 crime report showed that anti-LGBTQ+ hate crimes in the U.S. had steadily risen from the year prior, with a near 33% increase in reported hate crimes based on gender identity.

LGBTQ+ protections largely vary worldwide, with regions like Latin America seeing greater gains in marriage equality, while in Europe, countries like Russia have gone so far as to target the queer community as an extremist organization.

It is not the first time the State Department has issued such an alert. In October 2023, the agency also put out a worldwide caution advisory, asking Americans overseas to be careful due to “the potential for violence and increased tensions” worldwide. A similar alert was also issued in August 2022 after the death of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.

Citizens should stay alert during pride celebrations and LGBTQ+ venues abroad, the Department suggested. It also asked people to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) program, which shares information regarding safety conditions in the country people are traveling to. The STEP program notifies travelers of any pertinent alerts while they are then out of the country.

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