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Sweden is a LGBTQ+ friendly country

Recently updated on July 6th, 2023 at 03:17 pm

Sweden is the world’s most LGBTQ-friendly country, according to a new LGBTQ+ Danger Index. They’ve come out on top thanks to the country’s progressive laws and attitudes towards the Sweden LGBTQ+ community and travellers.

LGBTQ+ Danger Index

rainbow gay pride flag

The LGBTQ+ Danger Index lists the 150 most-visited countries to help LGBTQ+ travellers find the safest and most dangerous countries. They rank the countries on their friendliness towards gay, lesbian and trans travellers based on eight different factors that may impact LGBTQ+ travellers.

These factors include the legalisation of same-sex marriage and same-sex relationships, worker protections, anti-discrimination laws, adoption recognition and whether the country has any anti-LGBTQ+ morality laws.

The study also looked at the percentage of people who answered positively to the Gallup poll’s question, “Is the area where you live a good place to live for gay or lesbian people?”

These factors are all a good sign of a country’s attitudes towards the LGBTQ+ community and reveal the safest and most dangerous for LGBTQ+ travel.

Why is Sweden so LGBTQ+ friendly?

European Union and gay pride flag

Sweden has long been known as one of the most progressive countries in the world for LGBTQ+ rights. They legalised sexual activity between those of the same sex in 1944, and same-sex civil partnerships became legal in 1995. Sweden has allowed gay and lesbian couples to adopt children since 2003, and they became the world’s seventh country to legalise same-sex marriage on 1 May 2009.

Sweden was also the first country to allow transgender people to legally change their gender after reassignment surgery and provide free hormone therapy in 1972. By 2013, they passed laws to allow legal gender changes without reassignment surgery or hormone replacement therapy.

LGBTQ+ citizens and travellers have been legally protected as early as 1987 when discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity and expression became illegal.

A 2019 study by the Danish Research Institute for Suicide Prevention and researchers from Stockholm University found that the suicide rates of LGBTQ+ people have dropped significantly in Sweden.

More relevant for travellers, public opinion polls show that the vast majority of Swedes support LGBTQ+ rights. A 2019 Eurobarometer report showed that 92% of Swedes thought same-sex marriage should be allowed throughout Europe.

Sweden LGBTQ+ pride

rainbow gay pride parade decorations

Sweden has more Pride festivals per capita than any other country, and the Stockholm Pride parade is the biggest. It’s the top event for LGBTQ+ travellers and the Sweden LGBTQ+ community and attracts over 500,000 spectators, which is more than half the entire population of Stockholm.

Over 50,000 people marched in the parade in 2019 and the city will hold the next Stockholm pride from 27 July to 2 August in 2020. You’ll find rainbow regalia across the city including rainbow flags on buildings and buses and rainbow zebra crossings. You can also attend many talks, workshops, exhibitions and concerts, with plenty of food, drink and family-friendly events.

GET INSPIRED: Trafalgar trips to Sweden

The safest countries for LGBTQ+ travel

rainbow flag pride parade canada

Canada ranked as the second-safest country, while Sweden’s fellow Nordic countries also performed well in the new index. Norway (3rd), Finland (7th) and Iceland (9th) were all in the top ten, while Denmark placed 14th.

RELATED CONTENT: Welcome to my home: A totally biased view on why to travel to Scandinavia

Europe is the safest continent for LGBTQ+ travellers with 17 countries in the top 25, including Portugal (4th), Belgium (5th), the United Kingdom (6th), France (8th) and Spain (10th).

The safest country in Africa is South Africa (15th) and the safest country in South America is Uruguay (18th), while the safest country in Asia is Taiwan (27th). New Zealand (12th) and Australia (17th) ranked as the safest countries in the Australasian region for LGBTQ+ travellers.

rainbow flags pride parade germany

Here are the top 20 LGBTQ-friendly countries, which are often the best gay vacation destinations for travellers all over the world:

  1. Sweden
  2. Canada
  3. Norway
  4. Portugal
  5. Belgium
  6. United Kingdom
  7. Finland
  8. France
  9. Iceland
  10. Spain
  11. Malta
  12. New Zealand
  13. Netherlands
  14. Denmark
  15. South Africa
  16. Ireland
  17. Australia
  18. Uruguay
  19. Colombia
  20. Austria

What’s your favourite LGBTQ-friendly destination? Let us know in the comments below…

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