Canada is considered the most queer-friendly travel destination in the world. It legalized same-sex marriage in 2005, making it one of the earliest countries to do so. Canada is also well-known for staging numerous LGBTQ events, such as Toronto Pride in June (pictured), and Fierte Montreal Pride Festival in August of each year.
This small island nation in the Mediterranean Sea is Europe's most progressive country in terms of protecting the LGBTQ community. It banned discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in 2004. Malta was the first European state to outlaw so-called gay conversion therapy in 2016.
Lisbon and Porto (pictured) are among the most diverse and open-minded cities in Portugal. Same-sex marriage has been legal in the country since 2010. A few years later, same-sex couples were also granted full adoption rights. However, the country still has some way to go when it comes to protecting the transgender community and outlawing conversion therapy.
Known as one of the most progressive countries in the world, Sweden has passed many laws strengthening its LGBTQ community. Indeed, the Scandinavian nation decriminalized sexual relationships between consenting adults of the same sex over 75 years ago! Today, use of the inclusive, gender neutral pronoun "hen" as an alternative to the gender-specific hon ("she") and han ("he") is widespread.
As one of the most tolerant countries in Latin America, Uruguay was among the first to legalize same-sex marriage. The small nation decriminalized consensual sex between same-sex couples as early as 1934, and in 2004 passed anti-discrimination legislation to further protect the LGBTQ community.
Most travelers tend to associate Australia with glorious beaches and multicultural cities. But many might not be aware that added to this, Australia is also very tolerant. It passed far-reaching anti-discrimination legislation in 1984, aiming to protect people from mistreatment based on their sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or intersex status. Same-sex marriages were made legal in 2017.
While Germany is making progress in bolstering intersex rights, it still has some way to go in terms of creating a truly queer-friendly society. Cologne (pictured) and the capital Berlin, however, are known as particularly open-minded and diverse cities. Germany legalized same-sex marriages in 2017, and intersex people can now legally identify themselves as such.
This sparely populated nation near the Arctic Circle is famed not only for rugged landscapes and hot springs but also for being incredibly friendly to the LGBTQ community. It is, after all, one of the safest and most liberal holiday destinations you could pick. The capital Reykjavik (pictured) has been hosting an annual Pride Festival since 1999, and same-sex marriages were legalized in 2010.
Taiwan is touted as Asia's most progressive country when it comes to LGBTQ rights. The island state has adopted staunch anti-discrimination legislation, entrenched transgender rights and was the first Asian state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2019.
Although the Catholic faith and macho attitudes remain deeply ingrained in Colombian culture, it is regarded as one of Latin America's most progressive countries, after Uruguay, in terms of LGBTQ rights. Its top court ruled same-sex marriage legal in 2016. In 2020, Colombia was voted South America's leading LGBTQ destination at the annual World Travel Awards.
Author Sophie Dissemond
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