Revealed: this is officially Europe’s most LGBTQ+ friendly country

May 16, 22
Revealed: this is officially Europe’s most LGBTQ+ friendly country

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Faces of LGBTQ+ Hong Kong
Photograph: Shutterstock

Much of Europe is, thankfully, becoming a much safer and more welcoming place for LGBTQ+ people. In general (but, unfortunately, not everywhere), countries across the continent appear to be providing queer people of all stripes with greater rights and freedoms.

And that’s a trend shown by the latest Rainbow Europe study. Every year since 2009, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Intersex Association (ILGA) has published this report, which is essentially a ranking of European countries based on their laws and policies protecting LGBTQ+ rights and freedoms. Each nation in the ranking receives a score on a scale of zero to 100.

And top of the rankings in 2022 is... Malta! Which, to anyone who’s followed the Rainbow Europe study before, won’t come as a surprise. With a score of 92, Malta has now topped the list for a whopping seven years in a row.

Next up comes Denmark with 74 points. The Danes have rapidly climbed the ranks thanks to recent legislation against discrimination and hate crimes. Belgium comes third with a rating of 72.

Down the other end of the scale, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Armenia and Russia all receive single-digit scores, while Poland gets the lowest ranking in the EU with 13. Few of these countries offer much protection for LGBTQ+ people against discrimination and violence, with Poland also dropping in the rankings due to authorities’ banning of Pride events.

The UK, meanwhile, dropped from tenth to 14th place – the most dramatic drop of any country in the list. The ILGA says that this was primarily caused by the UK’s ‘widespread political and media anti-trans sentiment’ and refusal to extend its conversion therapy ban to all LGBTQ+ people.

Here’s the full Rainbow Europe map:

Rainbow Europe Map 2022
Image: European International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Intersex Association

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