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Rainbow Europe ranks top LGBTQ-friendly countries in Europe

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Rainbow Europe - ILGA Europe

Rainbow Europe ranks top LGBTQ-friendly countries in Europe

If you’re planning to visit a country in Europe anytime soon, you can’t go wrong in using LGBTQ campaign group ILGA Europe’s study, Rainbow Europe, to gauge how LGBTQ-friendly they are.

This 2019 annual study, a comprehensive study of Europe and Central Asia covering 2018, assesses the laws and policies in 49 countries and then ranks them based on 69 individual criteria.

Rainbow Europe: Who’s at the top, who’s at the bottom?

Rainbow Europe tagged three countries with the most restrictive laws and policies against the LGBTQ community in Europe and Central Asia: Azerbaijan, Turkey, and Armenia.

Azerbaijan scored three percent on the scale for banning same-sex marriage. Likewise, it isn’t illegal to discriminate based on gender or sexual orientation.

While homosexuality is legal in Turkey– which scored five percent– their civil rights laws don’t cover sexual orientation or gender identity. Furthermore, same-sex couples don’t have legal recognition

Armenia, which scored seven percent, has made homosexual legal but this is still socially unacceptable.

Meanwhile, Malta (90 percent), Belgium (73 percent), and Luxembourg (70 percent) ranked at the top and opposite end of the scale for being LGBTQ-friendly.

Rainbow Europe: Lots of room for improvement

Evelyne Paradis, executive director of ILGA-Europe, said Luxembourg as well as fourth-placer Finland had improved their standings by addressing gaps in transgender and intersex rights.

“Those countries that continue to do really well and go up are those that… clicked quite some time ago that the agenda was more than marriage equality,” Paradis told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Other countries like Britain and Portugal were tied at seventh place 66 percent.

Britain had a slip in the overall percentages from last year due to changes in the criteria. It was 73 percent last year and was tied with Finland and France at fourth place.

Rainbow Europe: Pessimistic general outlook

Paradis said that based on their rankings, there are a lot of backsliding among countries in terms of LGBTQ laws and policies.

For example, Poland doesn’t provide access to medically assisted reproduction for single women anymore, and Bulgaria removed administrative and legal procedures for changing name or gender market for official documents.

Countries like Germany, France, and Norway also had their percentages slide down from the previous year.

The report moreover indicated that Bulgaria, Hungary, and Turkey slid down from the previous year’s rankings due to their governments’ failure to uphold fundamental rights.

She said: “f ever there was a time to put high political priority on LGBTI equality, it is now.”

For individual reviews per country, check out the ILGA Europe report here before buying that airplane ticket.

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