Canada and Sweden most LGBT-friendly travel destinations

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The recent introduction of marriage equality has improved Germany’s position in the SPARTACUS Gay Travel Index, ranking the most LGBT-friendly destination countries. Germany now shares third place with eleven other countries. Canada and Sweden find themselves at the top of the list. The SPARTACUS Gay Travel Index is updated annually and informs travelers on the situation of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders (LGBT) in 197 Countries and Territories.

For the first time this year, the SPARTACUS Gay Travel Index also takes into account the legal situation of transgender individuals. Canada gets full marks in this criterion and thus manages to secure joint top spot in the Index for the first time, along with Sweden. The top ten LGBT-friendly countries further consist of mostly European Union countries that have already introduced marriage equality legislation, such as The Netherlands, France, Spain and Belgium. The SPARTACUS Gay Travel Index also sees improvements in Israel, Colombia, Cuba and Botswana. On the other hand, due to numerous killings of gays, lesbians and transsexuals in 2017, Brazil has been rated down markedly compared to previous years. The USA are also on the losing side, now being ranked on 39th rather than their previous 34th place. This is mostly due to attempts by the Trump administration to curtail transgender rights in the military as well as repealing anti-discrimination legislation that had been introduced under the previous government.

Overall, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Malawi garnered particularly negative scores, with Russian Federal Republic Chechnya coming dead last in the index, due to the the state-organised persecution and killings of homosexuals in 2017 taking place there.

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 antidiscrimination 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.