The U.S. State Department held a roundtable talk in Washington D.C., on Wednesday to discuss how department officials might better inform gay citizens of safety concerns when traveling internationally, the BBC reports. Among those participating in the roundtable were John Tanzella, president of the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association and Kenneth Kero-Mentz, the former president of Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies.
"We’re collecting stories from individual travelers and consular officers about their experiences through social media and other methods, and we plan to use that feedback to be more proactive and systematic in our information outreach," said Michelle Bernier-Toth, managing director of the State Department’s Bureau of Affairs of Overseas Citizens Services.
The roundtable comes just five days after the State Department added an LGBT section to its consular information website, which advises citizens of safety concerns that may affect their safety while traveling abroad. The recommendations include asking LGBT travelers to carry "legal/health documents that facilitate authorization for medical treatment or access in the event of a medical emergency while abroad" because hospitals in some foreign countries might not recognize a same-sex partner as "next of kin."