France plummets in LGBT-friendliness rankings after homophobic attacks

France plummets in LGBT-friendliness rankings after homophobic attacks

"Homophobia kills": People rally in support of same-sex marriage during a counter-demonstration of a march against gay marriage on November 17, 2012 in Toulouse. Photo: AFP The spike in attacks on homosexuals in France over the past year has led to the country dropping a whopping 11 places in just a year in an annual gay travel index.

The Spartacus Gay Travel Index 2019 puts France in 17th place, down from sixth place a year ago.

Canada, Portugal, and Sweden are the friendliest countries for LGBT travellers and they took joint first place in the latest edition of the guide.

Thirteen countries, most of them in Europe, tied for fourth place.

The reasons for France’s dramatic fall were a rise in homophobic attacks and the postponement of parliamentary debates on bioethics laws, notably on assisted procreation, which is currently limited in France to heterosexual couples.

READ ALSO: Paris left shocked by another homophobic attack

The Spartacus index ranked 197 countries based on 14 criteria, including anti-discrimination laws, marriage and civil partnership laws, adoption laws, transgender rights and persecution.

The United States dropped from 39th place to 47th.

Chechnya was ranked last of the 197 countries listed by the Berlin-based Spartacus guide, which provides tips for gay travellers on its website and mobile app.

Last autumn in particular saw a spike homophobic attacks in just a few weeks in the French capital.

The assaults gained a lot of media coverage in France partly because some of the victims decided to share their experience with a photograph of their injuries on social media.

On October 6th, a homophobic assault took place in the capital’s 19th arrondissement when two men were violently attacked by two people because they were kissing, with each suffering injuries to the ribs and face.

Then on October 8th, two young women were beaten up in public for the same reason and on October 13th a man was attacked in the 15th arrondissement for wearing make-up. Je pensais jamais que je ferais un tweet comme celui là mais ça n’arrive pas qu’aux autres: j’ai été victime d’une agression homophobe hier soir dans le 15e arrondissement de Paris parce que je portais du make-up 🙃 pic.twitter.com/FKZCt3SejV — adil ☄️ (@lostoverr) October 14, 2018 Paris police however said at the time that since the beginning of 2018 there had actually been a decrease in homophobic attacks compared to the same period the year before.

"We must be careful with the figures because a number of victims of homophobic acts do not go to the police," said the president of gay rights charity SOS Homophobie Joel Deumier.

Here Are the World’s Most LGBT-Friendly Countries, Courtesy of the 2019 Gay Travel Index

Here Are the World’s Most LGBT-Friendly Countries, Courtesy of the 2019 Gay Travel Index

Every year the Spartacus Gay Travel Index creates a ranked list of the world’s most LGBT-friendly countries. Produced by the Berlin-based Spartacus International Gay Guide — which specializes in gay maps of international destinations, sauna and hotel guides, Pride calendars and more — it ranks nearly 200 nations based on various criteria.

This year, three nations tied for the title of the world’s most LGBT-friendly countries: Canada , Portugal and Sweden . Interestingly, the United States was nowhere near the top of the list, ranking 47th alongside countries like Chile, Cuba and Thailand .

The Gay Travel Index 2019 has ranked each country based on 14 different criteria in various categories, including civil rights ( marriage equality , anti-discrimination laws, equal age of consent laws), recorded discrimination (travel restrictions for HIV-positive people, bans on Pride parades) and threats on the queer community by persecution, prison or the death penalty. Portugal, which was ranked much lower last year at number 27, made a huge jump thanks to its newfound anti-discrimination laws.

The United States, meanwhile, has been steadily dropping for three years now. In 2017, the country ranked 34, then fell to 39 in 2018. Spartacus credits President Donald Trump ‘s attempts to ban trans people from the U.S. military as one big factor in this most recent decline.

Spartacus notes that the United States and Brazil are both countries where right-wing governments have recently taken hold, where initiatives to revoke LGBT rights are being attempted and where hate crimes against LGBT people have sharply increased.

Some of the lowest-ranked countries on the list are Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Yemen, all of which impose the death penalty on LGBT citizens.

And at the very bottom of this year’s Gay Travel Index, unsurprisingly, is Chechnya, where authorities of the Russian republic have for years carried out deadly purges of its LGBT citizens . Head here for a closer look at the Gay Travel Index, ranking the world’s most LGBT-friendly countries.

No homosexuals in Malaysia, tourism minister says

No homosexuals in Malaysia, tourism minister says

Malaysia tourism minister, Mohammaddin Ketapi, in Berlin (Photo: Twitter) Malaysia’s minister for tourism, arts, and culture this week claimed the country does not have any homosexuals, according to local media.

I don’t think we have anything like that [homosexuals] in our country’ Mohammaddin Ketapi reportedly told a Deutsche Welle reporter at the ITB Berlin tourism fair.

The reporter had asked him if Malaysia welcomed gay travelers.

Malaysia is a partner of ITB Berlin, the world’s largest travel and tourism event. LGBT Crackdown

But, it is also is in the middle of a worrying crackdown on the marginalized LGBTI community.

Police have raided gay clubs and arrested individuals.

One conservative state caned women for attempting lesbian sex . At least two trans women have been murdered in the last few months.

And, importantly, the government continues to spew anti-LGBTI rhetoric.

Malaysia’s prime minister last year said Malaysia could not accept LGBT rights and labeled them a Western import.

A Green Party politician in Germany, Volker Beck, earlier protested Malaysia’s partnership in ITB due to the country’s homophobia.

The minister’s aid in Berlin also reportedly tried to downplay the comment. He said the minister was clarifying the government’s official recognition of LGBT people. ‘Need a new minister’

People online in Malaysia and elsewhere were keen to denounce the minister’s comments. No gays in #Malaysia …so I guess no chance of Tourism Malaysia holding a #mardisgras https://t.co/WmtYz8F67l #LGBT — Emilie (@paintsandsings) March 6, 2019 That’s why we need a new minister. https://t.co/WSMQDuqN2q — DJ Low (@DeejayLow) March 6, 2019 "I don’t think." There, I fixed it. https://t.co/5xRqmwgXsc — Pang Khee Teik (@PangKheeTeik) March 6, 2019

Miami Beach welcomes LGBT travelers from around the globe all year long

Miami Beach welcomes LGBT travelers from around the globe all year long

Miami Beach is an award-winning LGBTQ destination that caters to gay travelers from around the globe all year round Miami Beach is an award-winning LGBTQ destination filled with spirit and pride offering a multitude of experiences that cater to gay travelers from around the globe. From new, “hetero-friendly” hotels debuting stateside and must-visit drag brunch shows, to the iconic Miami beach Pride Parade next month, Miami Beach is like no other place in the world, embracing and celebrating the gay community all 365 days of the year.

“Miami Beach has a long history of welcoming gay travelers and offering a variety of events, hotels, restaurants, bars and destinations that makes anyone in the LGBTQ community feel at home,” said Steve Adkins, Chairman of the Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority (MBVCA). “More than 1.2 million LGBTQ travelers visit our destination each year and we are dedicated to continuing our concerted efforts to accommodate this coveted traveler segment through ongoing, city-wide initiatives.”

Travelers looking for a gay-centric stay on Miami Beach this year can choose from a number of Miami Beach Visitor and Convention Authority picks including:

What to Do:

•Princess, Out There (March 8) – The iconic duo will be premiering their live narrative video album that takes on cultural misogyny and the Divine Feminine at the Bass Museum.

•Winter Music Conference (March 25-28) – Check out Miami’s LGBTQ Underground Panel during the city’s premiere musical event, which provides the opportunity for music lovers from all over the globe to gain industry insights, and connect with other music lovers, all while enjoying beautiful Miami Beach.

•11th Annual Miami Beach Pride Parade (April 7-8) – The mission of Miami Beach Pride is to bring together members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community, their friends, allies, and supporters in celebration of the unique spirit and culture of the LGBTQ community.

•Outshine Film Festival (Starts April 18) – The biannual film festival highlights the local LGBTQ+ community. With film screenings and events throughout the city, it’s a can’t miss event to celebrate contemporary and classic queer cinema.

Where to Stay:

•Axel Hotels – The internationally renowned LGBTQ hotel brand will call Miami Beach home in 2019, the chain’s first US location, that will include a destination restaurant, spa and community experiences.

•Hotel Gaythering – This award-winning, iconic gay-owned hotel in Miami Beach is a boutique destination with “handsome industrial” design. Fully equipped for gay vacationers and locals alike with amenities such as an onsite gay bar with daily events and weekly specials, and clothing-optional, men-only gay sauna, jacuzzi, and steam room.

Where to Eat + Drink:

•Front Porch Café – Stop by this beloved gay-owned institution that has been serving up the best breakfast in town for over 20 years and don’t miss the iconic pancakes.

•Palace Bar – Brunch on the weekends is destination event on Ocean Drive and Palace Bar brings out all the stops with their legendary bottomless brunch + live drag shows.

•Big Pink -Located South of Fifth, the restaurant is an all-hours scene for anyone looking for a retro diner experience to recover after a late night out.

•Icebox Cafe – a staple on Miami Beach for 20 years, this gay-owned culinary destination offers up breakfast, lunch, brunch and dinner and is even home to Oprah’s favorite chocolate cake.

Week in travel: Portugal named most LGBT-friendly country

Week in travel: Portugal named most LGBT-friendly country

Australia is experiencing the hottest summer on record while planning to connect Sydney and Melbourne with high-speed train, and China opens its first all-weather cross-country ski resort

The annual Spartacus Gay Travel Index, which informs travellers about the situation of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders in 197 countries and regions around the world, has revealed interesting results this year. Portugal has moved from the 27th position to share the first rank with Denmark and Canada — rfranca / Shutterstock Thanks to improvements in law for trans- and intersexuals as well as initiatives against hate crime, Portugal has managed to rise up from the 27th position to share the first rank with Denmark and Canada .

Another rising star of the year was India . Thanks to the decriminalisation of homosexuality and an improved social climate it has moved up from the 104th to the 57th rank. Great improvements were also reached in Trinidad and Tobago and Angola, where the criminalisation of homosexual acts was abolished in 2018.

With the introduction of marriage for all, Austria and Malta were also able to secure a place among the top ranks in the 2019 Index.

On the other hand, the situation for LGBT individuals in Brazil , Germany and the USA has worsened. Top LGBT-friendly countries according to the Spartacus Gay Travel Index 2019

> Canada, Portugal, Sweden

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

France, Gibraltar, Greenland, Ireland, Switzerland, Uruguay

Colombia, French Polynesia, Germany, Israel, New Caledonia

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

Czech Republic, Estonia, Guam, Puerto Rico

Liechtenstein, Slovakia

Bolivia, Ecuador, Italy

Mozambique, Nepal, Taiwan

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

The complete list is available here . Australia fights with the hottest summer on record

The temperature is 2.14C above the long-term average — Shutterstock The Land Down Under has always been famous for unbearably hot weather. Yet it still managed to overcome the standard gates of hell and push it even further this year.

According to the nation’s Bureau of Meteorology, Australia has experienced its hottest summer on record with temperatures 2.14C above the long-term average.

“The real standout was just how widespread and prolonged each heatwave was — almost everywhere was affected,” climatologist Blair Trewin told the BBC.

January alone had already been confirmed as the country’s hottest month ever recorded with a mean temperature across the nation of 30.8C, which was 2.9C above the average for January temperatures of 27.9C.

If you plan to travel to Australia , some sort of inflammable sunscreen is a must. Melbourne to connect with Sydney by high-speed train

While Australia is fighting with the unprecedented summer temperatures, the officials continue to rack their brains about how to improve the country’s infrastructure. The high-speed train service cut the time from 11 to just three hours — Shutterstock Shadow minister for transport, cities and regional development, Anthony Albanese, has come up with an idea how to cut the journey time from Sydney to Melbourne from 11 to just three hours — with a high-speed train service between the two cities.

“It is appalling that it takes longer today to travel by rail to Newcastle from Sydney and the other way around than it did 50 years ago,” he said during an interview with 2HD Newcastle.

“In my view, we should bite the bullet and go for a high-speed rail connection not just through to Sydney but right through to Melbourne and then north to Brisbane.”

Albanese proposed a bill to create a High-Speed Rail Authority that would work on plans for a high-speed rail line.

“The benefits are not just in reducing travel times between Sydney and Melbourne and Sydney and Brisbane to under three hours; the big benefit is that this is a decentralisation plan,” he told the parliament.

The east coast corridor between Sydney and Melbourne has been the most commonly suggested connection. With more than nine million passengers flying the route in 2017, it is considered the world’s second busiest. China opens its first all-weather cross-country ski resort

If the people of China ’s Jilin Province feel like cross-country skiing, they don’t have to bother checking the weather. A new Beishan All-weather Cross-country Ski Resort has just opened and is prepared to satisfy their passion in any season. Many resorts have been built in China as the country gears up for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games — Shutterstock The new resort is home to a 1,308-meter indoor ski run and a 1,616-meter outdoor ski run that enable Chinese athletes to practice cross-country skiing all year long without seasonal restrictions.

According to Liu Yijun, a snow sports official in the city of Jilin, the resort will soon open to the world, and professional athletes from the Republic of Korea and Japan will use it for training this summer.

He added that the resort will also open facilities including an ice and snow themed park to the public.

The ski resort is one of many snow sports venues under construction in China as the country gears up for the 2022 Winter Olympic Games. Tinder launches a new spring break mode to find a match in advance

A popular dating app — Tinder — has decided to make meeting new people over spring break trips much easier. The app has launched a mode that allows its university-enrolled users to find a match before they even reach their destination.

“Get on Tinder and look for the spring break card. From there, you can add your spring break destination to see who’s going where. We’ll show you the location your potential matches are headed right on their profiles, so you can match and chat before you pack your bags and go,” the app describes how the mode works.

“And don’t worry, we’re not here to sell you a villa on the beach or unload a surplus of cheese sandwiches — we’re just here to help you find fellow spring breakers while your decision-making skills are still in topnotch form.”

Canada voted most friendly country for LGBTI travellers, while US ranked just 47

Canada voted most friendly country for LGBTI travellers, while US ranked just 47

The friendliest countries for LGBTI travellers are Canada , Portugal and Sweden , according to a gay travel index released earlier this week (26 February).

Three countries tied for first place while 13 countries – almost all in Europe – tied for fourth place.

However, the US failed to make the top 45, instead sharing 47th place.

It ranked with: Bermuda, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Macao, Seychelles and Thailand. The US’ decline

This included antidiscrimination laws, partnership and adoption laws and trans rights.

Moreover, the US has dropped 13 spots in three years.

It ranked 34 in 2014, falling to 39 last year.

Spartacus International pointed to President Trump’s ‘attempts to curtail transgender rights in the military’ for the decline.

Meanwhile, Portugal’s leap to the top spit from last year was huge, considering it was 27 last year. What country was bottom?

Out of 197 countries ranked, Chechnya is bottom .

The Spartacus International Gay Guide said the country is involved in ‘state-organized persecution and killings of homosexuals.’

Furthermore, rounding out the bottom five were: Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Yemen.

However, the top 16 friendliest countries, ranked for first and fourth, include:

1 Canada

1 Portugal

1 Sweden

4 Austria

4 Belgium

4 Denmark

4 Finland

4 Iceland

4 Luxembourg

4 Malta

4 The Netherlands

4 New Zealand

4 Norway

4 Reunion

4 Spain

4 United Kingdom See also

‘Nothing about my identity makes me any less capable of working in the government,’ said university senior Victoria Wegman

Canada ranked #1 LGBT-friendly travel destination in the world

Canada ranked #1 LGBT-friendly travel destination in the world

Emerald Lake, Yoho National Park in Canada / Shutterstock A new ranking published by Spartacus, an international gay holiday guide, named Canada the most LGBT-friendly travel destination in the world.

Canada shared first place with Portugal and Sweden, splitting the honour three ways. The 2019 Gay Travel Index informs travellers about the current situation of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders in 197 countries and regions around the world.

According to Spartacus, Portugal made substantial progress this year, leapfrogging its way from 27thÊposition to the top spot. The travel guidebook notes that initiatives in the countryÊagainst hate crimes and law improvements for the protection of trans andÊintersexuals helped it to move ahead.

India was also highlighted for its momentum, making an impressive leap from 104th to 57th spot after decriminalizing homosexuality.

Trinidad and Tobago and Angola also decriminalized homosexuality last year.

Top LGBT-Friendly Travel Destinations

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

Sadly, the guidebook notes that social and political climates for the LGBT community in countries like Brazil, Germany and the US have worsened.

"In both Brazil and the USA, the cause lies in the right-wing conservative governments and their initiatives to revoke LGBT rights that have been achieved, as well as the associated increase in homophobic and transphobic violence," notes Spartacus.

"In Germany, too, there has been an increase in violence against LGBT, the lack of modern legislation against transgenders and intersexuals and a lack of an action plan against homophobic violence have caused Germany to drop from third to 23rd rank."

Saudi Arabia, Iran, Somalia and Chechnya have been deemed the most dangerous countries for LGBT travellers in the world.

With files from Relax News.

This article originally appeared on Vancouver Is Awesome .

Gay travel blogger couple reveal what it’s like exposing their love online

Gay travel blogger couple reveal what it's like exposing their love online

Traveling the world with the person you love sounds like a dream reserved for the end of a rom-com. Fulfilling that dream while being paid is a lifestyle people would use a wish from a monkey paw for.

For a select few in the world of travel blogging, this is their reality. The world is all paid-for flights, cute photos and the dreamiest sights the planet has to offer. All they have to do is let tens of thousands of people into their life.

So what’s it like to lay your relationship bare to the world? Is it the millennial fantasy come true or are the consequences unexpected – and horrifying?

The Globetrotter Guys , one of the newest travel blogging couples on the scene, decided to test it for themselves. Sion and Ben, both 30, have been together for 10 years and married in 2017. However, it wasn’t until January 2018 they decided to take on the world of gay Insta couples. We sat down with them to find out what it’s really like to be a couple travel blogger. Why did you start traveling in the first place? And what were you doing beforehand?

Sion: We did it once before – nine months when I finished uni. We went in 2011 to live in Australia for a few months and then did five months through Asia. I had to come back for my job – I was in corporate tax as a chartered accountant.

We’d fallen in love [with travel] and we had to go back eventually. We were looking for the right time, but there’s never a right time and always an eventually. Why did you decide to make it a couple’s travel blog?

S: I thought it was a good idea, because I knew we were going traveling anyway. I was following all the usual gay travel blogs like Nomadic Boys and whatnot. And I’m always of the opinion if someone else can do something than so can I.

Ben wasn’t so sold on the couples idea to start with. Why?

Ben: Well, because I didn’t know anything about it. I didn’t see what the point was. I thought it would take away from what we got out of traveling. Why did it have to be couples instead of just Sion?

B: It was a natural decision.

S: I think for me… I don’t want to say better sell…

B: It’s an easier market to get into.

S: I feel like people buy into you as an individual but they buy more into you as a couple. It’s nice to see a gay couple together. Well, it’s not something you see every day in mainstream media. So I think people buy into it more. And because we’re constantly together, it would be awkward not to do it together.

B: Probably make it harder than anything else.

S: We both bring different things to it. Ben’s worked in travel for 10 years. He has the travel background. I worked in professional services, I had the business hat on. So between us it works. Do you plan where you want to go based on how romantic it looks?

B: Our blog is focused on luxury travel because we like luxury travel. And that seems to go hand-in-hand with the romance element of it. But at the same time, we need interesting things to do. So we would pick a romantic destination with the option to go off and do adventure activities – we like to explore.

S: We like to do all the adventurous things but we don’t want to go back to a hostel. At the end of the day we want to go back to a beautiful luxury hotel. We’re not going to stay in a dorm. What was the best place for that?

S: Guatemala. We stayed in an AirBnB – it was a converted barn house, far away from all the crowds. Around the lake we could go sailing, kayaking, rock climbing and hiking.

The horse riding was pretty hilarious – they do not care if you’ve had a lesson or not, they just put you on a horse and off it goes. Oh god, what happened?

S: I didn’t fall but I screamed. Apparently horses get excited and they flick their hair like a L’Oreal advert. I didn’t know what he was doing and it freaked me out. The instructor was laughing at me and so was Ben, because he’s ridden horses for 20 years. When you’re on these trips together and you meet other people, do they ever hit on you?

B: It happens all the time. When you’re on a night out, that always happens. What do you do?

S: [pause] We’re always polite.

B: We don’t react negatively. We just politely talk to the other person and explain the situation. I’m not going to storm up with a pint glass and say ‘stay away from my husband’. Has there ever been a fight with someone else?

S: No.

B: No.

S: There was a time where a girl tried to hit Ben with her high heel once –

B: A GIRL.

S: Because the guy she wanted to dance with ended up dancing near us. Her friend was hitting on us so she got jealous.

B: So she tried to heel me.

S: We don’t really care when people try to approach us like that. We’ve been together for over a decade. We’re fairly secure. The blog is another pressure on top of being together, how does it affect your relationship?

S: I think the problem is that we work differently. I’m very impatient, I want everything done yesterday. Ben likes to leave things to the last minute. So that’s a bone of contention.

B: They’ll always get done and they always get done before they need to be done.

S: Because I’m the one who started it, I take over quite a lot more, but to my own detriment then. Because I want Ben to do more.

B: I don’t necessarily know how. You’re obviously involved in the Instagram travel couple world. Have you heard about anyone being in fake relationships on Instagram just for the gram?

S: We’ve heard of that.

B: Could you be arsed with that? We take so long taking one lovey dovey photo to try and get it spot on. And that’s when we actually are [lovey dovey]. I couldn’t spend all that time to put something out there that wasn’t even real.

S: Then how could you be passionate about that?

B: I think part of the reason we’ve been so successful on Instagram is because it’s genuine and believable and people can grasp that. Has anyone ever accused you two of being in a fake relationship?

S: No one. There’s the posts of us two on Instagram, but when you look on Facebook and stuff, it’s still us together. Going out to meals, hanging with friends – the real stuff. What’s your advice to someone who wants to start their own blog?

Both: Find a niche.

S: And understand that you are not going to get anything back for quite a long time for what you are going to put into it. You’re not going to post one selfie on Instagram and get the world. Patience, niche, and learn.

Follow The Globetrotter Guys on their adventures through their blog or their Instagram. See also:

Friendliest Countries For LGBT Travelers? Canada No. 1, U.S. No. 47

Friendliest Countries For LGBT Travelers? Canada No. 1, U.S. No. 47

The friendliest countries for LGBT travelers are Canada, Portugal and Sweden, according to a newly released gay travel index.

The three countries finished in a tie for the top ranking, and 13 countries — nearly all in Europe — tied for No. 4, the Spartacus Gay Travel Index 2019 shows. Spartacus International Gay Guide , based in Berlin, Germany, provides tips for gay travelers on its website and mobile app.

The index ranked 197 countries based on 14 criteria, including antidiscrimination laws, marriage and civil partnership laws, adoption laws, transgender rights and persecution.

The United States did not rank in the top 45 countries. It ranked No. 47, a ranking shared with nine other countries: Bermuda, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Chile, Costa Rica, Croatia, Cuba, Macao, Seychelles and Thailand. Supporters of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community dance in New Delhi, India, during a protest in December to stop passage of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill. Members of the LGBT community expressed concerns that the bill will marginalize the people it is supposed to safeguard. In the Spartacus Gay Travel Index rankings of the friendliest countries for LGBT travelers, India ranks No. 57 of 197 countries. (Photo: Manish Swarup/Associated Press) The U.S. has been steadily dropping in the rankings. It ranked No. 34 in 2017 and fell to No. 39 last year, when Spartacus International Gay Guide pointed to President Trump’s “attempts to curtail transgender rights in the military” as a major factor for the decline.

Portugal’s ascent to a No. 1 ranking this year was a big jump from last year, when the country ranked No. 27 in the index. Portugal, Canada and Sweden received a top mark this year for their antidiscrimination laws.

The least friendly nation is Chechnya, No. 197, which has been involved, the Spartacus International Gay Guide says, in “state-organized persecution and killings of homosexuals.” Rounding out the bottom five are Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Iran and Yemen. All five were given negative marks for murders and death sentences involving the LGBT community.

Of 197 countries ranked in the Spartacus Gay Travel Index 2019, the following are the rankings of the 16 friendliest countries for LGBT travelers:

1) Canada

1) Portugal

1) Sweden

4) Austria

4) Belgium

4) Denmark

4) Finland

4) Iceland

4) Luxembourg

4) Malta

4) The Netherlands

4) New Zealand

4) Norway

4) Reunion

4) Spain

4) United Kingdom

Here are the countries ranked No. 17 through No. 47:

17) France

17) Gibraltar

17) Greenland

17) Ireland

17) Switzerland

17) Uruguay

23) Colombia

23) French Polynesia

23) Germany

23) Israel

23) New Caledonia

28) Andorra

28) Argentina

28) Australia

28) Guadeloupe

28) Martinique

28) Slovenia

28) South Africa

35) Czech Republic

35) Estonia

35) Guam

35) Puerto Rico39) Liechtenstein39) Slovakia41) Bolivia41) Ecuador41) Italy41) Mozambique41) Nepal41) Taiwan47) Bermuda47) Bosnia-Herzegovina47) Chile47) Costa Rica47) Croatia47) Cuba47) Macao47) Seychelles47) Thailand47) USA

Portugal, Sweden, and Canada most LGBT-friendly travel countries

Portugal, Sweden, and Canada most LGBT-friendly travel countries

Portugal, Sweden, and Canada most LGBT-friendly travel countries Thanks to legal improvements for trans- and intersex persons as well as anti-hate crime initiatives, Portugal for the first time managed to jump from 27th place to the top of the SPARTACUS Gay Travel Index, and now shares the 1st place with Sweden and Canada.

The SPARTACUS Gay Travel Index is updated annually to inform travelers about the situation of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in 197 countries and regions.

One of this year’s rising stars is India, which, thanks to the decriminalization of homosexuality and an improved social climate, has risen from 104 to 57 on the Travel Index. In 2018 the criminalization of homosexual acts was abolished in Trinidad and Tobago and Angola as well.

With the legal recognition of same-sex marriage, Austria and Malta were also able to secure a place at the top of the SPARTACUS Gay Travel Index 2019.

However, the situation for LGBT travelers in Brazil, Germany and the USA has worsened. In both Brazil and the USA, the right-wing conservative governments have introduced initiatives to revoke LGBT rights achieved in the past. These actions have led to an increase in homophobic and transphobic violence. There has also been an increase in violence against LGBT people in Germany. Inadequate modern legislation to protect transgender and intersex persons as well as the lack of any action plan against homophobic violence have caused Germany to drop from 3rd to 23rd place.

Countries such as Thailand, Taiwan, Japan and Switzerland are under special observation. The situation is expected to improve in 2019 as a result of the discussions on the introduction of legislation to legalize same sex marriage. Thailand has already moved up 20 places to rank 47 thanks to a campaign against homophobia and the introduction of laws to recognize same-sex civil partnerships. The already announced introduction of same-sex marriage laws could make Thailand the most LGBT-friendly travel destination in Asia.

In Latin America, the decision by the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR/CIDH) to require nearly all Latin American countries to recognize same-sex marriage has caused a sensation. So far, same sex marriage is legal only in the countries of Argentina, Colombia, Brazil, Uruguay and in some individual states of Mexico.

Some of the most dangerous countries for LGBT travelers in 2019 include again Saudi Arabia, Iran, Somalia and the Chechen Republic in Russia, where homosexuals are widely persecuted and threatened with death.

The SPARTACUS Gay Travel Index is assembled using 14 criteria in three categories. The first category is civil rights. Among other things it assesses whether gays and lesbians are allowed to marry, whether there are anti-discrimination laws in place, or whether the same age of consent applies to both heterosexual and homosexual couples. Any discrimination is recorded in the second category. This includes, for example, travel restrictions for HIV positive people and the ban on pride parades or other demonstrations. In the third category, threats to individuals by persecution, prison sentences or capital punishment are assessed. Evaluated sources include the human rights organization “Human Rights Watch”, the UN “Free & Equal” campaign, and year-round information on human rights violations against members of the LGBT community.