A new study outlines which destinations have proven the safest for travel-loving members of the LGBTQ+ community, as well as which could be the most dangerous. 

A gay couple smiling wrapped in a rainbow flag on a sunny day
The study looked at 150 countries around the world © Pollyana Ventura

Released by safety-focused travel writers Asher and Lyric, the “LGBTQ+ Danger Index” ranked the 150 countries with the most international tourists by looking at eight different factors and assigning scores to each one based on data. The categories were: legalised same-sex marriage (yes or no); worker protections; protections against discrimination; criminalisation of violence; adoption recognition; the percentage of people that responded positively to a Gallup poll question on whether it's a good place to live; are same-sex relationships illegal; and propaganda and morality laws. 

Sweden topped the study, coming out with a total score of 322 or an “A” when all of the weighted factors were added up, while the second and third places went to Canada and Norway. The top ten safest countries for LGBTQ+ travellers list was completed by Portugal, Belgium, United Kingdom, Finland, France, and Iceland, while Malta, New Zealand, the Netherlands, Denmark, South Africa, Ireland, Australia and Uruguay all received scores of B+.

Stockholm's calming waters
Sweden topped the list as the safest country for LGBT+ travellers © Goro Bertz/Folio/Getty Images

“We have seen LGBTQ+ people dear to our hearts be discriminated against and our deepest desire for writing this article was to bring awareness to these issues and hopefully catalyse change. In addition, as travel journalists, we wanted to help the LGBTQ+ community educate themselves on the very complex and layered world of staying safe during international travel,” Lyric told Lonely Planet.

The study named Nigeria as the most dangerous country for LGBTQ+ travellers, while Qatar, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Tanzania, Iran, Sudan, Barbados, Malaysia and Malawi made up the bottom ten.

As well as providing data and information to prospective travellers, Lyric and Asher offer practical advice. “Certain cities, tourist areas or resorts can sometimes be LGBTQ+ friendly even when the laws of the country as a whole are very anti-LGBTQ+. In all cases, do your research, check for up-to-date news and if you feel apprehensive, consider a more LGBTQ+ friendly country. We also highly recommend LGBTQ+ travellers read the safety tips shared by four experts at the end of our [study] to get more insights into how to stay safe while abroad.” 

More information on Asher and Lyric’s study is available at their official website.

Read More: The best LGBT+ bars in London

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