Europe has long been viewed as a relatively progressive part of the world for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer rights. But when you zero in on each country, their policies and levels of social acceptance vary greatly.
ILGA-Europe, an LGBTQ advocacy group, has released its annual Rainbow Europe Country Ranking, funded by the European Union, which ranks 49 European countries from most to least LGBTQ-friendly. The ranking is based on how the laws and policies of each country affect the lives of LGBTQ people, and the nongovernmental organization uses a number of indicators, including nondiscrimination policies, hate speech laws and asylum rights to create its list.
Here are Europe’s most LGBTQ-friendly countries, according to ILGA-Europe’s 2020 ranking, and an interesting LGBTQ fact about each of them.
There are more Pride festivals per-capita in Sweden than any other country in the world, according to Visit Sweden.
9. United Kingdom
London held its first Trans+ Liberation March in September, with an estimated 1,500 people taking to the streets for transgender equality.
Helsinki Pride, the capital city’s annual LGBTQ celebration, was attended by the country’s prime minister last year for the first time, according to ILGA-Europe.
Since 1997, the capital city, Lisbon, has held Queer Lisboa, one of Europe’s biggest LGBTQ international film festivals.
Spain was the third country in the world — behind the Netherlands and Belgium — to legalize same-sex marriage, doing so in 2005, a decade before the United States.
The number of “rainbow families” — those with either two moms or two dads — in Denmark doubled from 2009 to 2019, according to Statistics Denmark, a government bureau.
Luxembourg’s prime minister, Xavier Bettel, is one of only three openly gay heads of government in the world. In 2019, during an address at the United Nations, Bettel called on world leaders to condemn hate speech, saying, “Homophobia is a personal choice, and we have to fight against it.”
A new bridge being built in Belgium’s capital, Brussels, will be named after iconic gay rights activist Suzan Daniel, who founded the country’s first LGBTQ association, according to The Brussels Times.
In 2016, Malta became the first European country to ban so-called conversion therapy, a contentious practice that aims to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.