Places like Ireland and the United States have recently been under close watch regarding gay rights. Their achievements and ongoing lobbying toward equal marriage have succeeded in momentarily bringing back the issue of gay rights as a whole to mainstream news. But these aren’t the only countries that should be getting attention. Plenty of other places in the world have been known to be the most LGBTQ-friendly around, yet don’t receive nearly enough press on the issue to let LGBTQ people outside of those countries know.
Curious what’s out there? Take a look at this list to see where to go… and where to avoid!
Top 3 Countries to Visit
This country is considered one of the gay-friendliest places in the world, if not the gay-friendliest. Not only was it the first nation in the world to recognize same-sex partnerships, but they did so all the way back in 1989! Its capital, Copenhagen, is also home to the oldest openly gay bar in Europe, which opened in the 1950s. In 2014, Denmark renamed the square near its famous City Hall Tower in Copenhagen as “Rainbow Square” in honor of equal rights for LGBTQ people.
This country was the first to start a trend that ultimately ended up sweeping across the rest of the world: labeling businesses as “gay and lesbian friendly” when they, in fact, were more than happy to accommodate LGBTQ people and showed no prejudice toward them. After this move in 1998, New Zealand’s trend quickly moved into practice for other countries. Of course, it’s no surprise that such trendsetters would also have one of the highest amounts of LGBTQ-friendly venues of any country. They also passed equal marriage laws in 2013.
Thought the United States would hold the crown for the friendliest country in North America? Think again! Especially when we focus on Toronto, we see a huge amount of LGBTQ activity. Toronto is famous for The Village, its cultural hot spot for all things Canada; which happens to also boast a huge amount of gay-friendly and gay-supportive venues, businesses and entertainment spots. Toronto is also home to virtually every Pride march and celebration Canada has to offer, making it the place to go to for gay tourists.
Top 3 Countries to Avoid
If you’re looking for a country to avoid, this is it. In 2014, Nigeria passed an anti-gay law that supported such things as vigilante violence, a serious lack of HIV/AIDS care and harsh jail times for even showing favor to LGBTQ people. Citizens are within their right to knock down the doors of suspected homosexuals and beat them, and the country is allowed to sentence people 14 years in prison for attempting to enter a same-sex marriage and 10 years for supporting an LGBTQ organization.
This country may not have same-sex activities illegal anymore since 1951, but they still have a long way to go with their rights. To date, gay people can still be fired for being gay, be denied goods and services, have no recognition of same-sex marriages or couples, and disallow adoption, while things such as hate speech are still allowed and rarely regulated. With homosexuality often considered to be an act that dishonors the family, honor killings weren’t illegalized until 2013.
This is a country that still has same-sex sexual acts illegalized, with those found guilty facing a prison sentence of 1-5 years and a fine of 100,000 to 1,500,000 francs. Like Jordan, is also has no laws protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination, harassment, hate crimes, hate speech, firings, withholdings of pay, withholdings of goods and services, or abuse.
How do these results stack up with your personal experiences? How have you been treated while living in these countries? Tell us in the comments!