Here at misterb&b, it goes without saying that we’re addicted to travel. What’s more exciting than exploring the gayborhood of a new city, making new connections with a kindred misterb&b host, digging into some local cuisine, or exploring the LGBTQ scene of a new destination? Not much we say!
While the world has made significant progress in terms of LGBTQ rights and the general safety of LGBTQ travel, many countries are still safer than others. Sadly 69 countries still criminalize homosexuality, so it pays to know which countries across the world are best to visit as an LGBTQ traveler.
Using the results from Asher & Lyric's definitive “LGBTQ+ Travel Safety Index”, which looks at factors including marriage equality, worker protections, anti-discrimination laws and more, here’s a list of the globe's 10 safest (and unsafest) countries to visit (and avoid) as LGBTQ travelers. There are some interesting revelations!
Oh Canada, we love you so! On July 20, 2005, Canada became the first country outside of Europe to legalize same sex-marriage, now that’s something worth celebrating!
But it’s not just Asher & Lyric’s index which positions Canada highly. According to Equaldex, Canada ticks all the boxes in terms of LGBTQ rights and protections. We’re talking legal gay marriage, adoption, and gender non-binary recognition, along with anti-discrimination laws in the employment, housing, and military sectors.
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When you first think of Sweden, you probably think of natural fjords, the northern lights, and Abba. But this nordic country also proudly sits in position two in terms of LGBTQ travel safety. Now there’s even more reason to venture up north!
ILGA Europe’s latest rainbow map for 2022 scored Sweden 68% in terms of its overall LGBTQ-friendliness. The country performs well in multiple criteria including marriage equality, joint adoption, and important equality and non-discrimination laws in place. So we’ll see you in dreamy Stockholm then?
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In terms of liberal countries across the globe, the Netherlands is a frontrunner. After all, it was the first country in the world to legalize gay marriage way back in 2001, setting the precedent for many others in Europe to follow.
Although relatively small in size, the Netherlands is larger than life for LGBTQ safety. Asher & Lyric’s index indicates great worker protections, recognition and transgender legal identity laws., and criminalization of violence. So whether it’s Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht, or somewhere in between, it’s definitely about time you rolled into the Netherlands.
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You might not think it, but Malta is extremely LGBTQ-friendly. So much so that ILGA Europe ranked it as Europe’s most LGBTQ-friendly country in 2022 for the 7th year running. Believe us now? While Asher & Lyric’s travel index positions it as the world’s fourth safest country to visit for LGBTQ travelers, a top 5 ranking is still worth an applause.
Enjoy the island’s historic capital, Valletta, and travel with peace of mind, knowing that Malta takes its LGBTQ friendliness and protections to the next level. Think legal gay marriage since 2017, criminilization of LGBTQ violence, and a trans murder rate of 0! So if you're dreaming of an island in the sun, where you can feel at total ease, Malta is for you.
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With cult classics like Lisbon and Porto, what’s not to love about Portugal? If the dreamy cuisine, friendly locals, and balmy weather weren’t enough to tempt you in their own right, its high ranking for LGBTQ safety sure will. ILGA Europe’s Rainbow Map scores Portugal 62% for LGBTQ rights, with the country performing well in legal gender recognition and family rights including marriage equality and joint adoption.
Asher & Lyric’s index also places Portugal highly in position five thanks to transgender legal identity laws and overall protections against discrimination. So what do you say? We meet you down south in the Algarve for a summer to remember in one of the world’s safest LGBTQ countries? Yes please!
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With iconic gayborhoods like Soho in London and The Village in Manchester, plus some of the world’s biggest and festive Prides - we’re looking at you Brighton Pride - it makes sense that the UK has a strong queer scene and is safe for LGBTQ travelers.
Gay marriage was legalized in England and Wales in 2013, Scotland in 2014, and Northern Ireland later in 2020. Based on Equaldex data, the United Kingdom enjoys are series of LGBTQ rights including anti-discrimination laws, legal adoption, and legal gender changing just to name a few. So lock in a stay in the UK this season, and you’ll feel safe and sound!
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While Belgium’s popular claims to fame may be beer and waffles, the country is also renowned for being an extremely safe destination for LGBTQ travelers. LGBTQ rights in Belgium are regarded as some of the world’s most progressive, with ILGA Europe ranking it third only to Malta and Denmark in its latest Rainbow Map.
Belgium is a great place all round for LGBTQ travelers, and we love the scene in Brussels! Spend your days strolling around the city’s gay district, and rest assured you’re in a super politically progressive and safe environment. After all, Belgium ticks many boxes according to Asher & Lyric’s index including legalized gay marriage, adoption recognition, worker protections, and a 0 trans murder rate. It’s little wonder the index places it 7.
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The data for this article was gathered prior to the violent attacks which recently unfolded in Oslo. Be sure to stay safe and proud, and let's continue to fight to create a more welcoming world.
Asher & Lyric’s index places Norway at 8 thanks to great LGBTQ protections all round. Just like the aforementioned countries, Norway offers worker protections, gay marriage, and excellent trans protections rights. In ILGA Europe’s latest report, Norway positions even higher at 4 regarding LGBTQ rights, performing particularly well in legal gender recognition.
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When it comes to gay-friendly countries, Spain is kind of like an OG. Think of a safe place to visit in Europe as an LGBTQ traveler, and your first thought is probably Spain. After all, the country is home to loads of popular gay beaches, great LGBTQ cities like Madrid, Sitges, and Barcelona, and of course Europe’s largest Pride, Madrid Pride.
But behind these scenes, Spain also has many legal protections for LGBTQ travelers. ILGA Europe ranked Spain 10 in terms of its overall LGBTQ rights, with particular protections in the family laws sphere such as marriage equality, joint adoption, second parent adoption, and automatic co-parent recognition. Convinced yet? Well Asher & Lyrics’s index goes one step further, ranking it 9. Either way, we’ll meet you on the beach there for summer!
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While France was relatively late to the table legalizing gay marriage in 2015, the country’s overall LGBTQ rights have gone from strength the strength. While Paris remains France’s most LGBTQ city, other cities including Marseille and Nice have become more open over the years, with popular Prides taking place in each every year.
Based on Asher & Lyric’s index, France performs well on all counts for LGBTQ rights, with criminalization for hate crimes, legal protections for sexual orientation & gender identity, and broad protections against discrimination. So, what do you say? Is France calling this season?
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As LGBTQ travelers, it also pays to know which countries are best to avoid in terms of safety. Whether it’s due to punishment by death for being gay, no workplace protections, or a general feeling of insecurity while traveling there, Asher & Lyric's index ranks these countries as the 10 unsafest for LGBTQ travelers.
4) Saudi Arabia
So now that you know where to travel this season, it's time to find the perfect LGBTQ accommodation with misterb&b. Private rooms, entire homes, fab LGBTQ-friendly hotels, take your pick from 1 million listings now.
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