A Look at the Most World's LGBTQ+ Friendly Nations

A gay black man walking at the pride party with an LGBT flag, walking backwards

It might be challenging to locate nations that are safe to travel in if you identify as LGBTQ+. Some nations even have laws that prohibit homosexuality. Not all nations are as tolerant of the LGBTQ+ community as other nations are.

Thankfully, several nations in the world are growing more accepting of LGBTQ+ people. These countries have passed legislation to safeguard their residents and guests, enabling everyone to express themselves freely without concern about retaliation or prejudice.

Introduction to LGBTQ+ Travel Laws

Those who are LGBTQ+ may find traveling to be a frightening experience. It’s critical to comprehend how different nations view LGBTQ+ people in terms of their legal status, social norms, and general attitudes. The LGBTQ+ group as a whole, as well as relationships and behaviors between persons of the same gender, are illegal in several nations around the world.

Here’s a look at some of the countries on the globe that are the most accepting of LGBTQ+ people to assist you in making an informed choice when organizing your upcoming trip. These nations, which have a progressive position on LGBTQ+ rights, are the best places to visit if you want to travel without feeling intimidated or unwelcome. Here are some of the top locations for LGBTQ+ tourists, from Denmark to Canada:

  • Denmark: This country is renowned for its progressive stance on LGBTQ+ rights, including the recognition and protection of same-sex partnerships. Same-sex couples can also adopt children here.
  • Canada: LGBT discrimination has been illegal in Canada since 1977, and same-sex marriage has been legal since 2005. Canada also has strong protections in place for transgender people under its Human Rights Act.
  • Australia: Marriage equality was introduced in 2017 as well as stronger anti-discrimination laws on age, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity. People are free to serve openly in the military regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.
  • Sweden: Homophobia and hate speech are illegal, and Sweden also recognizes same-sex marriages for both nationals and foreign visitors who want to get married there.

Why LGBTQ+ Friendly Environments Matter?

It is crucial for LGBTQ+ travelers to be able to feel comfortable and welcomed while they are away from home. In nations with strict legislation, LGBTQ+ people are more likely to experience financial and physical assault. Yet it’s challenging to completely unwind and experience a new location when you’re worried that you’ll be criticized, detained, or worse when traveling.

That’s why evaluating the top LGBTQ+-friendly travel locations requires taking into account quality-of-life elements like legal acceptance and protections for LGBTQ+ rights. Sweden serves as a good illustration. In 2009, the country’s top court approved the legalization of same-sex unions, making it the first country in the world to do so. And as a result of its progressive social attitudes, the country scored 100 percent on the Rainbow Europe Index’s 2019 report on LGBT rights, as well as on The Advoque’s most recent annual Global Equality Index and the Rainbow Map Report from ILGA-Europe.

The good news is that LGBTQ+ travelers have access to a wealth of online resources that provide ratings and recommendations when planning their next vacation—whether they’re seeking the world’s most liberal nations or are merely interested in where is the friendliest.

Top 10 Most LGBTQ+ Friendly Countries

For LGBTQ+ travelers looking for a safe and open environment, many countries around the world welcome you with open arms. Here are the top 10 most LGBTQ+-friendly nations, according to recent rankings:

  1. Sweden
  2. Canada
  3. Norway
  4. Portugal
  5. Belgium
  6. United Kingdom
  7. Finland
  8. France
  9. Iceland
  10. Spain

When it comes to being the safest place to go for LGBTQ+ people, Sweden takes the top spot. This liberal country has anti-discrimination laws in place, and since 2009, when the Church of Sweden approved same-sex marriage legislation, same-sex couples have been able to adopt children and be married.

Canada comes in second place, having passed laws permitting same-sex marriage since 2005, and is followed by Norway, which did the same in 2009 and recently became one of the first nations to permit transgender people to legally change their gender without a medical assessment or court order in 2016. Portugal, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Finland, France, Iceland, and Spain round out the top ten safest nations; each has committed to defending LGBTQ+ freedoms and rights and supporting safe travel for all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

How to Stay Safe as an LGBTQ+ Traveler?

A foreign trip requires a little more planning for LGBTQ+ people than a regular vacation does. Understanding a country’s laws, customs, and cultural attitudes can help guarantee a safe and enjoyable travel experience.

  1. Know the Laws of Your Destination
    It’s crucial to know the legislation of your destination before purchasing any tickets. With legal protections, including anti-discrimination statutes that cover gender and sexuality, in place, Sweden is regarded as the safest destination for LGBTQ+ tourists. Other safe destinations for LGBTQ+ tourists include Norway, Portugal, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Finland, France, Iceland, and Spain.
  2. Be Aware of Local Attitudes
    Although many nations have taken steps to ensure the LGBTQ+ population has legal protection, regional sentiments differ widely. For instance, while it may be socially acceptable in some regions for same-sex couples to display physical affection in public, it is not permitted in others. Before planning a trip, it is important to read about local legends and discover what ordinary people go through daily.
  3. Safety Tips for Travelers
    When going abroad, LGBTQ+ people must consider their safety. Avoid showing your partner physical affection if it is not acceptable where you are, be cautious when out at night, only wear rainbow-colored clothing when it is safe to do so, download helpful apps like Grindr or Hornet, and take advantage of local resources like LGBT centers or organizations that can help with anything from lodging to travel advice.

Preparing for Potential Problems

While they are in a region where the majority accepts them, LGBTQ+ visitors still need to exercise caution to make sure their trip is successful. Any place you intend to visit should be thoroughly investigated so that you are aware of any potential problems or hazards.

Knowing the local laws and customs is crucial, especially if you identify as transgender, as some locations still have anti-gay legislation in place. Also, you may look for reviews from other travelers or groups like the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Association (ILGA).

Here are some tips for avoiding potential problems when traveling as an LGBTQ+ person:

  • Don’t feel pressured to reveal your identity before you feel comfortable with it.
  • Avoid publicly displaying affection with same-sex partners.
  • Get informed about countries that are not accepting or progressive when it comes to LGBT rights.
  • Make sure your travel documents list your gender accurately.
  • Familiarize yourself with safe spaces for LGBTQ+ people in the destination country.

By doing these things, LGBTQ+ travelers can help ensure they have a safe and enjoyable adventure abroad.

What you can do if you Experience Discrimination Abroad?

While it should never be necessary, LGBTQ+ people sadly frequently experience harassment while traveling. There are several actions you can do to safeguard yourself if you encounter discrimination when visiting another country.

  • Stay Safe: If faced with an unsafe situation, remove yourself from it as safely and quickly as possible.
  • Document Incidents: Write down any relevant details of the incident and make sure to record the names of any people involved, as well as any witnesses. Also, note any physical evidence that could prove helpful for a case you may want to pursue later on.
  • Get Help: Although the police are frequently unwelcoming to LGBTQ+ individuals, there may be local advocacy groups that might offer assistance. Furthermore, embassies and consulates could provide emergency assistance if you’re in a nation with anti-LGBTQ+ laws.
  • Seek Legal Advice: If you’re being prosecuted because of your sexual orientation or gender identity, get legal counsel from a local attorney who is experienced with the particular legal issues at hand.

What to Expect From Non-LGBTQ-Friendly Nations?

Although it’s crucial to check local legislation before traveling anywhere to make sure LGBTQ+ rights are supported and upheld, not all countries share the same moral principles. The term “non-LGBTQ friendly” is frequently used to describe countries.

Travelers can anticipate stricter conditions and a lack of protections for the LGBTQ+ community in certain nations. Laws that punish same-sex relationships, demonstrations of affection in public, and denial of services like marriage licenses and access to healthcare could fall under this category.

It’s crucial to remember that there are also “discreet” nations where LGBTQ+ partnerships are permitted as long as they’re kept secret. To ensure their safety while traveling abroad, tourists should become familiar with local customs and develop expectations for the area they will be visiting.

Tips for LGBTQ+ Travelers

For those considering travel, there are a few tips to keep in mind to ensure that the trip is as safe and enjoyable as possible.

  • Research the Local Laws
    It’s critical to comprehend the country’s culture and regulations before traveling there. Members of the LGBTQ+ community are subject to restrictions or criminal prosecution in several countries. Being outspoken about one’s sexual orientation may be viewed as open rebellion or even illegal in some countries. Hence, it is crucial to learn about these rules before making travel preparations and to contact the local embassies if necessary.
  • Know Your Rights
    While traveling abroad as a member of the LGBTQ+ community, be sure you are aware of your rights. Information is power. While traveling, look into any potential discrimination legislation that would limit your capacity to connect with locals because, while some nations have made progress in defending their residents’ rights, others are still far behind. To be able to engage appropriately in a foreign setting, it is preferable to be aware of any potential problems before you travel.
  • Be Respectful
    It’s always vital to respect local traditions and customs while traveling to a new location. This includes being aware of how people might react if couples publicly exhibit their devotion. Public expressions of affection could be acceptable in certain countries but be frowned upon or even illegal in others. Because of this, it is important to keep this in mind while engaging with people you encounter when traveling. Being kind and considerate can help you stay out of sticky situations.

Travelers who identify as LGBTQ+ must consider their safety and well-being when visiting nations where homophobia and transphobia are still widely practiced. Fortunately, some nations have taken steps to provide LGBTQ+ tourists with a more courteous and inclusive environment.

  • Netherlands: Given that the rainbow flag originated in the Netherlands, it should come as no surprise that it is one of the safest nations for LGBTQ+ tourists. Since 1998, civil unions have been recognized legally, and marriage equality was made legal in 2001. Also, the Netherlands has first-rate medical services, including operations and prescriptions for hormones.
  • Germany: Germany has worked to ensure that all of its inhabitants, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, have secure access to healthcare. In 2017, same-sex marriage became legal, and same-sex parents now have the same rights as opposite-sex parents. Additionally, the nation is governed by laws that forbid discrimination based on gender expression or identity in all facets of life, including work prospects.
  • Canada: In 2005, Canada became one of the first nations to recognize transgender rights and one of the first to legalize same-sex marriage on a national level. The Canadian Human Rights Act also protects gender identification, so people cannot be treated differently depending on how they identify or express their gender.

By understanding which countries are most accepting of LGBTQ+ travelers, we can make informed decisions about our travel destinations for a safe and secure experience abroad.