The 4 Most LGBTQ-Friendly Countries in the World
There are places in the world with a great gay bars and beaches, and a culture inherently welcoming to LGBTQ travelers. Get the lowdown on those countries travelers should consider visiting.
While we are still striving toward universal acceptance of same-sex love, LGBTQ travelers will be happy to know that the planet Earth is, by and large, a big, gay-friendly world. Those worried about exploring the globe for fear of homophobia or hatred should be of good cheer—there are tons of fascinating destinations that are open-minded and unashamed, from electing LGBTQ officials to hosting lavish Pride celebrations! Read up on some of the most LGBTQ-friendly countries and be prepared to pack your rainbow chaps, Mary!
O, Canada! The United States’ northern neighbor is a big land full of big love, and they are unafraid to show it. Canada is one of the only nations in the world to host a national pride event, with each province and major city also hosting a significant party! What other country has seen their cis, straight, white leader (Justin Trudeau) marching in a Pride parade complete with a waving rainbow flag, wishing onlookers a happy Pride? It also became the first country to celebrate the LGBTQ community on its currency, with the 2019 Canadian $1 coin commemorating the struggle for LGBTQ rights. Specific cities with thriving scenes include Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver.
Show your pride all year
long with a go-get-em
in shiny rainbow colors
2. The Netherlands
There is probably no safer place to walk hand-in-hand down the street with your bae, regardless of your respective gender identities, than Holland. The Netherlands is a beacon of acceptance and tolerance, and a place where visitors from all walks of life will feel “normal” and welcome. On top of being the first country in the world to legalize gay marriage, all the way back in 2001, it also decriminalized homosexuality all the way back in 1811, when worldwide tolerance was pretty much nil. Today, Amsterdam is home to one of the world’s most unique and rockin’ Pride parades, which is held on boats through the canals that run through the city. There’s also the very important Homomonument, completed in the 80s, which commemorated the homosexuals persecuted during World War II.
Tango fans—have you ever been to a queer milongo? You’ll find them in droves here, along with a rich and storied LGBTQ history and heritage that dwarves other destinations in the Americas. This was the first Latin American nation to embrace gay marriage, and only the 10th overall in the world. Today, it is one of the most trans-friendly locations in the world, having written gender-identity affirming laws into existence. Looking for a destination elopement? Argentina is your place—Puerto Madryn in Patagonia offers a “Casamiento Express” (Express Marriage) package for visiting gay couples, in which anyone regardless of nationality can get married in just five days.
Tip: Make your G-A-Y getaway effortless with just a carry-on —albeit, one that can do it all.
4. South Africa
While Africa (the continent) still lags decades behind the rest of the world when it comes to its treatment and acceptance of LGBTQ persons, South Africa (the country) has shined as a beacon of equality and tolerance. Johannesburg and Cape Town both have enormous Pride events each year that are destinations in their own right, with the largest being called “Africa Pride.” Gay marriage has been legal since 2006, trans rights are valued, and equality is literally written into the constitution. You go, Glen Coco!
Tip: For long-haul flights, every skinny legend needs their beauty sleep. This headphone pillow will allow you some uber-chill shut-eye while vibing to your favorite tunes.
This is just a small sampling of nations around the globe that are welcoming and friendly for LGBTQ travelers. It is by no means exhaustive! Thinking about getting hitched overseas? Learn what to pack for a destination wedding!
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By Shannon O’Donnell on October 23, 2019
Shannon O'Donnell is a long-term
traveler who has
been on the road since 2008 and has lived everywhere from Southeast
Asia to Barcelona, where she now calls home. She travels slowly and
along the way, winning
numerous awards for her work advocating for developing communities.