Safety, love and acceptance should await everyone that crosses a country’s borders, this unfortunately isn’t always the case. Depending on where you are traveling, the complexity of navigating different LGBTQ+ laws can be incredibly challenging. However, for many queer travelers, staying informed is necessary. Today we’re highlighting the top 5 safest destinations for LGBTQ travel.
In recent years, there have been many studies conducted to assess the safety of each country for queer travelers. One of the most in-depth reports was conducted in 2019 by journalists Asher and Lyric Ferguson and has been updated on a yearly basis.
The study has been named the “LGBTQ+ Travel Safety Index”, and assesses the safety of 203 countries according to ten guidelines: legalized same-sex marriage, worker protections, protections against discrimination, criminalization of violence, adoption recognition, a poll question: is it a good place to live (for queer residents), transgender legal identity laws, homicide rates against the trans community, illegal same-sax relationships, and propaganda/morality laws.
After 350 hours of research, the study concluded that the five following countries are the best for LGBTQ+ Travel in 2022. While there are many more countries with a high safety index ranking, these five countries received an “A” score. You can find further resources to maximize safety while traveling abroad, as well as see a detailed breakdown of their data assessment on the Asher & Lyrics website.
The second-largest country in the world ranked first among the other 202 countries in the study. This is because, in Canada, same-sex marriage is legal, workers are protected for their sexual orientation and gender identity, there are constitutional protections for the LGBTQ+ people, the community is protected from hate crimes, joint & second-parent adoption is legal, 76-100% of residents say it is a good place to live, residents are permitted to legally change their gender without sex-reassignment surgery, and the homicide rates committed against trans residents is 0.2. Overall, Canada received a final score of 383.
In Canada, seeing the Rockies, visiting the Banff National park, witnessing the strength and force of the Niagara falls and exploring Quebec City’s architecture are all highly acclaimed attractions. From the west coast’s ancient forests on Vancouver Island to the east coast’s picturesque lighthouses in Newfoundland, this country is packed with stunning views that will leave you wanting more.
In terms of the study’s parameters, this Scandinavian nation is relatively similar to Canada and only ranked five points lower overall, coming in at 378. Finding businesses and restaurants that are LGBTQ+ friendly isn’t a challenge here, as queer love and acceptance are the norms. In Sweden, visiting the Abba and Vasa museums, staying at the Ice Hotel, walking through Stockholm’s Old Town, Gala Stan, and seeing the Göta Canal are all highly encouraged.
Once again, in terms of the study’s parameters, the overall results were similar to those of Canada and Sweden. However, in the Netherlands, the protection against hate crimes are not the same, as their laws only apply to incitement-based punishments. As a result, the country is ranked 374 points.
While spending a few days in Amsterdam is a given, the Netherlands is home to a variety of charming attractions. For example, located an hour and a half away from the capital (by car), is Giethoorn. This small village is often referred to as the “Venice of the Netherlands” because of its canals, and architecture. Texel Island, Rotterdam, Delfit, and Utrecht are also beautiful locations to visit.
This island country and archipelago is located in the Mediterranean between Sicily and the North African coast. It also ranked fourth among the other countries in the study, with a total of 369 points. Some of its main attractions include its capital, Valletta; Gozo island; the city of Mdina; and the resort town, Sliema.
Lastly, in Portugal, one of the key differences in the study, is that a smaller portion of the LGBTQ+ population (51-75%) reports feeling like they live in a good place for the queer community. Overall, Portugal accumulated a total of 358 points. For sightseeing, visiting the Park and National Palace of Pena and the Castelo dos Mouros are very encouraged!
By: Briahna McTigue