Canada Ranked Top Among LGBTQ+-Friendly Travel Destinations

True north strong and queer-friendly.
Rainbow colored gay pride flags and Canadian flags flutter in the wind beside English Bay in Vancouver’s West End Neighbourhood.
Rainbow colored gay pride flags and Canadian flags flutter in the wind beside English Bay in Vancouver’s West End Neighbourhood.

Canada can raise its rainbow flag a little higher today. The home of one of North America's largest Pride celebrations has been ranked among the most LGBTQ+-friendly travel destinations in the world.

According to a new list published by gay holiday guide Spartacus, Canada, Portugal and Sweden share the title of most LGBTQ+-friendly travel destinations.

In its Gay Travel Guide 2019, Portugal leapfrogged its way from 27th position to the top spot, thanks to initiatives in the country against hate crimes and law improvements for the protection of trans and intersex people, says Spartacus.

Another rising star on the ranking this year is India, which rose from 104th to 57th spot after decriminalizing homosexuality. Trinidad and Tobago and Angola also decriminalized homosexuality last year.

The index also revealed, however, that the social and political climates for the LGBTQ+ community in countries like Brazil, Germany and the US have worsened due to right-wing conservative governments and an increase in homophobic and transphobic violence.

At the other end of the spectrum, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Somalia and Chechnya have been deemed the most dangerous countries for LGBT travellers.

1. Canada, Portugal, Sweden

2. Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Reunion Island, Spain, United Kingdom

3. France, Gibraltar, Greenland, Ireland, Switzerland, Uruguay

4. Colombia, French Polynesia, Germany, Israel, New Caledonia

5. Andorra, Argentina, Australia, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Slovenia, South Africa

6. Czech Republic, Estonia, Guam, Puerto Rico

7. Liechtenstein, Slovakia

8. Bolivia, Ecuador, Italy

9. Mozambique, Nepal, Taiwan

10. Bermuda, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Macau, Seychelles, Thailand, US

The Spartacus Gay Travel Index is based on 14 criteria in three categories:

1) Civil rights to assess whether gays and lesbians are allowed to marry, whether anti-discrimination laws exist or whether the age of consent is the same for heterosexual and homosexual couples.

2) Discrimination, which includes travel restrictions for HIV-positive persons and the prohibition of Pride parades and other demonstrations.

3) Threats individuals via persecution, imprisonment or death penalty.

The Gay Travel Index uses research from human rights organization Human Rights Watch, the UN Free & Equal campaign, and information about human rights abuses against members of the LGBTQ+ community collected throughout the past year.

— With files from Charmaine Noronha in Toronto.

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