In a year of record anti trans laws in the US, let’s shine a light on celebrating LGBTQ rights advances across the globe. Together, these victories not only improve LGBTQ travel safety but the lives of local queer people.
Table of contents
- Same-sex marriage is legal in four new countries
- Conversion therapy bans increase at home and abroad
- Third gender passports available in US now
- Transgender self-determination rights grow
1. Same-sex marriage is legal in four new countries
This year, Andorra, Chile, Cuba and Switzerland legalized same-sex marriage. The lone Mexican state holding out against same-sex marriage changed its mind, making gay marriage legal throughout Mexico.
While same-sex marriage was not passed in Japan, Tokyo’s government started giving same-sex couples domestic partnership agreement that lets them be treated like marriage when it comes to things like housing and health care.
Separate isn’t equal, but sometimes it’s a starting point.
Same-sex marriage discussions continue in a handful of other countries, including India, Israel, Thailand and Greece. I’m optimistic that more countries will advance same-sex marriage in 2023.
2. Conversion therapy bans increase at home and abroad
In the last two years, several countries have banned the harmful practice of conversion therapy. They include Canada, Chile, Greece, France, New Zealand and India.
The United Kingdom passed a partial conversion therapy ban, affecting only cisgender individuals.
Lesbians, gay men and bisexuals who have had conversion therapy are twice as likely as those who haven’t to attempt suicide, the Williams Institute reports.
While the UK’s new law will save the lives of lesbian, gay and bi youth and adults, it leaves out trans people. This is unacceptable and we must demand better.
No LGBTQ person should be forced into therapy that invalidates their identity and seeks to change them.
In the US, four states have passed laws ruling that state and federal funds can’t be used to pay for conversion therapy. Thanks Michigan, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin!
They join 26 states (plus Washington DC) that have already passed similar laws.
That leaves 21 US states where conversion therapy is legal. To name a handful that might be on your LGBTQ travel bucket list, Alaska, Arizona, Texas, Louisiana, Montana and Wyoming allow conversion therapy in 2022.
For all you queer spring breakers, there are three states with conversion therapy bans that cannot be enforced due to pending litigation: Alabama, Georgia and Florida. Full data via Movement Advancement Project.
3. Third gender passports available in US now
The US is now issuing third gender passports! I hope this makes it easier for intersex, gender expansive, and gender nonconforming folks to make it through airports unharnessed. Here’s hoping.
Other countries that allow an X marker include first adopter Australian (2011!), Bangladesh, Canada, Denmark Iceland, India, Malta, Nepal, New Zealand, and Pakistan. Several EU countries are considering the move. Adoption of third gender passports in some EU member countries could pave the way for a wider shift.
< me, in a cactus shirt, looking the typical gender-free way that gets me hassled in airports
4. Transgender self-determination rights grow
More countries passed laws affirming transgender individuals’ right to gender self-determination without requiring surgeries or (ewww) sterilization. Self-determination means the individual determines their sex or gender with no medical requirements.
This is so important. Not all trans people desire gender normative surgeries. Forcing them to get invasive and expensive surgeries is gatekeeping, among other labels I could choose.
As of December 2022, 18 countries allow trans self-determination: Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Uruguay, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Ireland, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Portugal, Switzerland, New Zealand, and Pakistan.
Expanding LGBTQ rights is an LGBTQ travel issue. Queer people feel more comfortable traveling when we know we are safe and accepted in the places we visit. In some cases, we travel to enjoy rights that aren’t available where we live. Living in San Francisco and making annual visits to Provincetown, two historically queer safe spaces, I’ve witnessed gay couples growing misty-eyed at being in a place where we are safe to be ourselves–full stop.
Together let’s make 2023 even safer for LGBTQ travel.
This list of what queer travelers want is a great place to start when it comes to advocacy and holding our allies accountable to do better.