Isn’t traveling when you are part of the LGBTQIA+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, Intersex, Asexual) community like everyone else? However, many factors must be considered so that the trip does not quickly become a nightmare. We have selected the 5 safest destinations where you will feel comfortable and secure when holding hands with the person you love. For 2022, LGBTQ+ Travel Safety Index ranked the 150 most visited countries based on current laws, how the people there feel, and protections for queer rights.
Eating ice cream on a terrace, visiting a museum, or walking down the street are harmless and natural moments. However, they may not be so natural when your sexuality or gender is questioned in the country you are visiting. So before you take the plunge and buy your ticket, let’s take a look at the places where you’ll be free to be yourself.
1. Canada: party on St. Catherine Street
Whether it’s a road trip to Lac St-Jean, a tasting of local beers and ciders, or a trip to Vancouver, the land of maple syrup is full of surprises. It is also at the forefront in terms of LGBTQIA+ rights. Same-sex marriage has been allowed since 2005. In 2017, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau publicly apologized for past discrimination against the queer community. That same year, he marched with his family at the Montreal, Vancouver, and Toronto Pride and Freedom Marches.
And since 2016, Randy Boissonnault has been a special advisor on issues related to the LGBTQIA+ communities. Openly gay, he is one of the 5 LGBT MPs sitting in the Canadian Parliament. If you decide to stay in Montreal, you can visit the Gay Village. It is one of the largest queer neighborhoods in the world. In its center, Sainte-Catherine street. An open area where you will find restaurants, nightclubs, boutiques, drag shows, art installations, and neoclassical churches. The nightlife is known to be one of the most festive in the world.
2. Sweden: enjoy a sunset on Grinda Island
Do Stockholm and its 24,000 islands and islets, colorful houses, and cobblestone streets attract you? Or maybe you prefer the immaculate fjords populated by herds of reindeer? Whether you’re looking for a wilderness experience or a night out in the city, Sweden is the place for you. The Stockholm Pride March attracts 45,000 participants and 400,000 spectators. That’s less than 50% of the city’s residents participating in the event yearly.
Between 2003 and 2011, the LGBTQIA+ community has seen its rights expand from the right to adoption to marriage to the prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation. The Swedish capital, Stockholm, is full of LGBTQIA+ clubs and cafes. Sweden also has the first queer retirement home in Europe: the Regnbågen. As the birthplace of European music, you’ll probably enjoy dancing to ABBA’s “Gimme gimme gimme” or enjoying Björk’s suspended notes in front of a sunset on the island of Grinda.
3. Malta: dive into the blue water of the Mediterranean
The transparent water of the Mediterranean, green islands, a fortified capital with its string of small streets… Malta announces a trip full of promises that it can keep. Do you love deep sea diving, kayaking, and historical visits? Come dive with us in deep waters to discover Malta, a country where pairs of flippers and LGBTQIA+ flags are a must.
Considered a model for European countries, the archipelago is known as a paradise for queer people. Designated in 2019 as the “best European country for sexual minority rights”, the country has been working since 2013 to adopt a series of laws favoring LGBTQIA+. Marriage and adoption are available without restrictions, and transgender people can easily declare their name and gender change.
4. Portugal: visit the city of a thousand colors
Nestled in southwestern Europe between the Atlantic and Spain, Portugal offers a wealth of possibilities. Nibbling on pastéis de Nata on the banks of the Tagus River, discovering ancestral port wine cellars, or hiking in the lush nature of Madeira… The cradle of fado is also a place of tolerance for LGBTQ+ people. It is the country with the fewest assaults due to sexual orientation or gender identity in Europe. Its anti-discrimination laws and its evolution over the years have placed it at the top of the most queer-friendly destinations in Europe.
The country is also a candidate to host the 2022 Europride. Are you stopping in Lisbon, the city of a thousand colors? Don’t hesitate to visit the Arroios and Misericórdia neighborhoods, the most popular in the city. You can also enjoy the bars and clubs in the Principe Real district, known for its antique stores and LGBTQIA+ bars. There is plenty of entertainment and fun to be had.
5. United Kingdom: discover Brighton
Beyond the birthplace of the Sex Pistols, the United Kingdom is also the possibility of taking a tour of the London Eye while nibbling on scones or admiring the port of Polperro in Cornwall. The country, known for its open-mindedness and avant-gardism, is the master of sexual freedom and gender identity. Between 2002 and 2021, laws allowing the LGBTQIA+ community to live freely have been passed continuously. The most recent one in effect is the one proposing a UK-wide ban on conversion therapy.
When we talk about England, we often think of London, but the intriguing city of Brighton has not said its last word. Openly queer-friendly, like its rainbow houses, Brighton has more than one trick up its sleeve. The LGBTQIA+ cultural scene is particularly rich, so you’ll quickly find the right address for you. Brighton is also home to two annual Pride events. One attracting about 160 000 visitors during the parade near Preston Park in early August. And the Trans Pride, in July, is dedicated to the trans community.
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