The world is becoming more inclusive towards the LGBTQ+ community. With the abolishment of Section 377, India is also taking small steps as a nation to counter discrimination and violence. Did you know it is pride month this June? The 2019 Pride month parades have shown incredible participation and support and we’re only beginning our journey to an LGBTQ+ safe country. But there are other nations, who for years have formed laws that accept the gay community and there’s no question that they deserve to be celebrated. After all, it is an achievement of the country as a whole.
These are the 7 nations that have the most liberal LGBTQ+ laws:
What better nation to be first on the list than the first nation to decriminalise homosexuality? The Netherlands has always been an early adopter of liberal laws. Not only did it decriminalise homosexuality over two centuries ago (in 1811), but it also banned discrimination based on sexual orientation way back in 1994. In 2001, it also became one of the first nations to make same sex marriage and adoption legal. In fact, Amsterdam is known to be extremely supportive of the vibrant pride culture with active celebrations through parades and is home to various gay bars and clubs. In fact, a national “Homomonument” in Amsterdam honours the loss of homosexuals killed in response to their sexuality.
How rare and incredibly touching it is to see a straight leader of a nation wave about the transgender flag, yelling “Happy Pride”. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has always been an advocate and open supporter of the gay community. In fact, the nation itself -throughout history- has proved itself to be as friendly and giving as everyone thinks. Canada decriminalised discrimination as early as the 1960s and legalised gay marriage in 2005, becoming the 4th country to do so. The nation also holds a national Pride event called “Canada Pride” (soon to be held in Winnipeg in 2020). With rainbow crossings, various LGBTQ+ celebrations and even “gay villages”, the nation is constantly making the world a little safer. In fact, the nation’s $1-dollar coin commemorates gay rights battles!
Pioneering a safer society for the gay community in Latin America, the nation became the first country in South America to legalise gay marriage in 2010 and also adoption by same-sex couples. It speedily after, introduced gender identity laws in 2012. It is one of the most trans-friendly countries in the world. Buenos Aires also has hostels, Airbnbs, bars and nightclubs for gay tourists, in addition to the already thriving LGBTQ+ population in the nation. The government even openly funds a lot of gay events, including the GNetwork360 conference and the BA Pride Parade that is one of the most crowd-pulling events of the nation.
If reading Malta on the list left you surprised, you wouldn’t be the first one. An aggressively Catholic nation does not seem the most fitting on the bill when it comes to LGBTQ+ support. Astonishing as it may be, this small European island is one of the friendliest nations when it comes to its LGBTQ+ laws. Elected in 2013, Prime Minister Joseph Muscat has ever since prioritised LGBTQ+ welfare. The nation banned conversion therapy in 2016, becoming the first European nation to do so. In addition to that, Malta also introduced gender-neutral language on legal documents; legalised gay marriage and adoption rights in 2017 and lowered the age for gender change from 18 to 16.
While Portugal may not be the earliest in the game, it definitely still delivered. They decriminalised homosexuality in 1982 and legalised gay marriage in 2010. Ever since, the nation has been swiftly making laws that help the safety of LGBTQ+ communities. Adoption became legal in 2016 and Law of Gender Identity was enforced from 2011. The nation is also known for its expansive trans-friendly laws and also has a no-tolerance ban on discrimination. In addition to these, the country is rich in its LGBTQ+ nightlife with bars, clubs, parties for people to celebrate and enjoy in safe environments.
Norway has always been considered one of the best places to reside economically as well as culturally. And their LGBTQ+ friendly laws only proves the point further. One of the first countries to provide laws against discrimination in 1981, the nation also allows for same-sex marriage, adoption as well as IVF treatment for couples since 2009. One of the most popular events of the nation is their Oslo Pride Parade that brings forth participation in thousands and also pulls people from abroad. Another event is the Oslo/ Fusion film festival that celebrates the community through art. You can also change your gender legally without medical changes and till date, no such application has been rejected. The nation also offers a “Casamiento Express” or Express Marriage for same-sex couples- no matter what nationality- in just 5 days.
While Belgium is universally synonymous with chocolate, it’s not the only thing it does well. The nation has for years been passing and enforcing inclusive laws for the LGBTQ+ community. Homosexuality was legal as early as 1795 but again reversed between 1965 and 1985. Nevertheless, the country became second to legally allow same-sex marriages in 2003 and made adoption legal in 2006, along with IVF treatment. The country also hosts popular pride festivals, including La Demence, Unicorn Festival and SPEK. It is also home to numerous openly gay politicians including former Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo.