The World’s Safest Countries for LGBTQ Travelers to Visit Right Now

A 2023 index ranks the most popular nations for international travelers, determining which are the most LGBTQ-friendly in terms of civil rights, protections, and anti-discriminatory laws.

Toronto skyline seen from the water

Canada took the number one spot for the world’s most LGBTQ-friendly nation in 2023.

Photo by Shutterstock

For most lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer travelers, planning a trip often involves researching local attitudes and laws relevant to the LGBTQ community. Thankfully, the internet is home to a long list of important resources for LGBTQ travelers, which includes the 2023 LGBTQ+ Danger Index, a comprehensive survey that ranks the most and least safe countries for queer travelers to explore.

The 2023 report was recently published by Asher and Lyric, a website that promotes health and safety advice for international travelers. It ranks 203 popularly visited countries around the world based on 10 factors, including legalized same-sex marriage, LGBTQ worker protections, anti-discrimination laws, criminalization of hate crimes, and adoption recognition. The survey also considers each nation’s most recent Gallup score, which examines what residents say about the overall quality of life, as well as whether same-sex acts are illegal in the country and if propaganda and morality laws are currently in place.

So, which are the safest countries for queer travelers to visit? According to the 2023 index, Canada is currently the world’s most LGBTQ-friendly nation, topping this year’s list with an overall score of 383 points. The runner-up is Sweden with 377 total points, which placed ahead of the Netherlands, Malta, and Norway, with scores of 373, 370, and 358 points, respectively.

The top 15 safest countries for LGBTQ travelers, according to the 2023 index:

  1. Canada
  2. Sweden
  3. The Netherlands
  4. Malta
  5. Norway
  6. Portugal
  7. Spain
  8. Denmark
  9. Belgium
  10. United Kingdom
  11. France
  12. Iceland
  13. Switzerland
  14. Ireland
  15. Luxembourg

The United States ranks 25 overall. Some of the detractors noted were that some states don’t offer protections against discrimination, don’t allow for a change of gender, or prohibit “advocacy of homosexuality.”

Canada’s top safety ranking on the 2023 LGBTQ+ Danger Index isn’t hugely surprising—in 2005 it became the fourth nation worldwide to legalize same-sex marriage. Sweden became the world’s first country to allow trans individuals to change their legal gender post-transition in 1972, and in 2009 it became the seventh nation worldwide to legalize same-sex marriage.

The least friendly country is currently Brunei, according to the 2023 LGBTQ+ Danger Index, where in 2019 a penal code was passed that made homosexual acts punishable by death by stoning. Saudi Arabia, Nigeria, Kuwait, and Malawi are the next four least friendly. In each country homosexuality is considered illegal.

While the 2023 LGBTQ+ Danger Index provides important safety insight for queer travelers considering international adventures, it’s important to remember that measuring one’s level of safety—whether at home or abroad—is never quite as simple as referring to a recent report. The contributing factors are helpful indicators of overall attitudes within a given culture, but of course, it’s important to remember that national laws don’t always reflect local opinions, and it’s important to do your own research before making a travel decision.

This article originally appeared online in 2019 it was most recently updated on August 1, 2023, to include current information.

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