the safest destinations for LGBTQ+ Travelers
December 15, 2022
Author: Marissa Kozma
Traveling somewhere new is exciting, but if you or your partner identify as LGBTQ+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, etc.), you might spend more time carefully choosing a destination. Some countries have legalized same-sex marriage, while others consider same-sex marriages, relationships, or displays of affection illegal. Consequences for understanding risks could result in social or legal punishments — including prison time or even the death penalty.
Nobody should feel uncomfortable on vacation, so make sure the country you are visiting has constitutional protections against such discrimination, a low number of hate crimes, transgender legal identity laws, foreign marriage recognition laws, and other safety measures in place. Use OZZI to learn about LGBTQ+ safety in your destination before you book your trip. Don’t know where to go? These five countries earned top marks in this LGBTQ+ Travel Safety Index using data gathered in 2022.
Coming in at number five, Portugal recognized same-sex marriage in 2010 and is considered one of the world’s top nations in protecting and advancing LGBTQ+ rights. The Algarve region on the southern coast of Portugal is especially welcoming and non-judgemental, as well as the Príncipe Real neighborhood of Lisbon, where the nation’s Pride March originated.
The archipelago nation of Malta in the Mediterranean recently legalized same-sex marriage in 2017 after a nearly unanimous vote, and it has since become a mecca for LGBTQ+ vacationers. The country offers legal protection against discrimination and violence/hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people is illegal.
In 2000, The Netherlands became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage and its reputation of being one of the friendliest countries in Europe means the nation offers a warm welcome to LGBTQ+ visitors. Amsterdam is a bustling city known for its nightlife, which includes a number of drag shows and gay bars, but smaller Dutch towns are just as accepting and a peaceful refuge for those interested in a slower pace.
Sweden is known for being one of the most progressive countries in the world, so it’s no surprise that the Scandinavian country ranks second when it comes to LGBTQ+ safety. The nation legalized same-sex marriage in 2009, and boasts the largest pride parade in Scandinavia — held in Stockholm — with 50,000+ participants in attendance each year.
America’s neighbor to the north never turns away anyone because on their sexual orientation, gender identity, or likewise, which is why the country earns the top spot as the most LGBTQ+-friendly. Canada legalized same-sex marriage in 2005, and today, many Canadians are LGBTQ+ — celebrating this historic milestone with pride parades, gay bars, drag shows, and more.