This afternoon, GetEQUAL Mississippi (a grassroots organization devoted to bringing equality to all LGBT Mississippians) issued a “travel alert” for any gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender person who may be traveling to or within the state. Mississippi is on the cusp of passing its version of the “religious freedom” act (and we’ve seen this before, in other states), and although nothing has been made official, the bill is progressing at a very rapid pace, and there’s concern about the safety of anyone who may be perceived as “different.”
GetEQUAL issued the following statement, effective immediately:
GetEQUAL Mississippi alerts those traveling to the state of a continued risk of discrimination based upon sexual orientation and/or gender identity. The State of Mississippi does not currently protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and/or transgender (“LGBT”) people from being legally ejected from their hotel rooms or other places of public accommodation, and is on the cusp of passing legislation that would give business owners even more latitude to legally discriminate against minority groups.
Those who are required to travel to Mississippi are encouraged to take the following precautions:
- Avoid traveling alone in the state.
- Only book travel at hotels which have policies prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Visit only known LGBT-friendly establishments, including restaurants, bars and venues.
- Be aware of your surroundings and adopt other appropriate safety measures to protect yourself while traveling.
GetEQUAL Mississippi will continue to monitor this situation and update travelers as needed.
Emily Gable is the associate editor at Equally Wed, the world’s leading gay and lesbian wedding magazine. For more marriage equality news and gay travel information, follow Equally Wed on Twitter and Facebook.