Whether it’s looking for a place to visit or a place to settle down for a while, everyone wants to feel safe while traveling. Unfortunately, LGBTQ+ travelers might still find themselves nervous traveling to a country without knowing the full picture. The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) in Europe recently released the results of its 2022 Rainbow Europe Map. The map serves as an index over the last year that ranks how European countries have stacked up to stand up for LGBTQ+ rights and create policy that serves this community.
For the seventh year in a row, Malta received the number one spot on the index, scoring 92 percent based on the study’s standards. But more interesting is Denmark’s spot in second place. Last year, Denmark occupied the seventh-place spot. However, this past year Denmark has made strides by filling in anti-discrimination gaps in current legislation. It amended laws to support health, education, employment, and goods and services, and clarified that sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics can be aggravating factors in a hate crime. Belgium rounds out the top three with a score of 72 percent.
The top 10 most LGBTQ+ friendly European countries
The United Kingdom had the most significant fall, going from 10th place to 14th place after dropping 11 percent. The UK earned a score of 53.4 percent due to its equality body mandate’s lack of work on sexual orientation and gender identity and its equality action plan was not renewed or implemented.
To find the most LGBTQ+ friendly countries for the 2022 Rainbow Europe Index, ILGA-Europe studies the laws and policies in 49 countries under 74 different criteria, which are then divided into seven major categories: equality and non-discrimination, family, hate crime and hate speech, legal gender recognition, intersex bodily integrity, civil society space, and asylum.
If you’re looking for a queer-friendly getaway, there are plenty of great cities all across Europe that have cool culture and amazing places to stay. And if Europe isn’t your thing, you might be surprised to find LGBTQ hotspots in Mexico, Serbia, and Utah. Although the study showed concern for some Eastern European countries, there are great options to visit there, too. Just know that there’s always room for improvement.