As travel continues to open around the world, it’s time to start planning your next adventure! However, for some, not all tourist destinations are safe to visit. The LGBTQ2S+ community – to our dismay – has to think twice before booking that all inclusive get-away. Safety and security while in a foreign country, is not something to play around with in this day and age.
According to asherfergusson.com, the best and worst countries for LGBTQ+ travel in 2021, Canada is the safest country in the world for LGBTQ2S+ travellers. The list takes several factors into account such as same sex marriage, worker protections, adoption recognition transgender legal identity laws, and if the country is a nice place to live. Each factor is then split into two to three points from best to worst, describing the laws in more detail. The list ranks 180 countries, and gives them a letter grade, from A: most safe, to F: Highest Danger.
The top five countries according to Asher Fergusson’s best and worst countries for LGBTQ2S+ which was updated in March 2021 are:
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Canada has legal same-sex marriage, worker protections, a strict criminalization for violence and hate crimes against people for their sexuality, transgender legal identity laws, and is rated by queer Canadians as a good place to life. In Canada, it is legal to change gender without sex reassignment surgery, and there are laws in place preventing discrimination based on sexuality.
Canada is also home to many LGBTQ2S+ neighbourhoods, such as Davie Street in Vancouver, B.C., Osborne Village in Winnipeg, Jasper Avenue in Edmonton, and the Village in Toronto.
The Netherlands have been a safe haven for the queer community for decades. Amsterdam is home to one of the largest gay scenes in Europe, and their annual Gay Pride celebration includes a Canal Parade, which is internationally famous and a tourist attraction on its own.
Next to the Westerkerk Church in the historical heart of Amsterdam, there is the Homomonument, a statue with three pink triangles which is a memorial for all queer people who have struggled for basic rights and freedoms because of their sexuality.
Sweden has consistently been in the top five countries that are safest for LGBTQ2S+ people to live and travel for decades, and is often ranked number one.
Sweden has a reputation for being welcoming, open-minded and diverse. Having diversity and inclusion in Sweden is very important, making it a safe country for anyone to visit.
Malta is known to be one of the most LGBTQ2S+ countries in Europe, and has made queer rights equal at a constitutional level. The country has worked hard to make itself a safe country for LGBTQ2S+ people to live and visit. In 1973, Malta decriminalized homosexuality, in 2017, the country legalized same-sex civil unions. Malta also banned gender discrimination in 2004. The country has shown a lot of growth in a short amount of time.
In 2015, Malta was first in the international lesbian-Gay Association’s Rainbow Europe’s League for gay rights because they had granted 88 per cent of totally rights. In 2006, only 18 per cent of Malta’s population were in favour of same-sex marriage, 10 years later, a 2016 poll found that 65 per cent were in favour.
Portugal was ranked 7th out of 49 European countries in relation to LGBTQ2S+ rights. Portugal is another country where gay rights have drastically improved in a short period of time. Homosexuality was decriminalized in Portugal in 1982, and the country has anti-discrimination laws that specifically ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in its constitution, as is one of the few countries to do so.
When traveling, keep in mind that while countries may be LGBTQ2S+ friendly on paper, there are cities and towns that will be more tolerant than others. Similarly, there are very safe cities and towns in countries that are not ranked high.