Some countries – such as the United States and the United Kingdom – have made progress in advancing LGBTQ+ individuals’ rights, while there are countries where homosexual or other queer behavior is outlawed, sometimes as part of the country’s criminal code. One notorious example is Uganda, where the government attempted to pass a bill that would have led to jail time for anyone who failed to report homosexual behavior and had even harsher penalties for those accused.
However, some countries are much more accepting of LGBTQ+ individuals. Two notable examples are the South American countries of Argentina and Uruguay. Argentina legalized gay marriage in 2010, and in 2009, Uruguay passed legislation allowing trans individuals to change their identity documents legally.
Most of the gay-friendly countries are in Europe. They include Iceland, Ireland, France, the Netherlands, Denmark, Luxembourg, Sweden, Spain, Norway, and Belgium. Belgium legalized gay marriage in 2003, and Gallup considers it to be one of the best countries in the world for LGBTQ+ individuals. Denmark was the first country ever to recognize same-sex partnerships, doing so in 1989, and it legalized gay marriage in 2012. France was the first country to de-list transgender identity as a mental illness, and its government legalized gay marriage in 2013. Paris, in particular, is a hotspot for the global LGBTQ+ community.
In 2009, Iceland became the first country in the world to have an openly gay head of state, and it is considered the happiest country in the world for gay men. Ireland was the first country in the world to legalize gay marriage by a popular vote rather than the passage of a bill through parliament, doing so in 2015. In 2014, Luxembourg became the first country in the world in which an openly gay politician married while in office. In 1981, Norway became the first country to create legislation that would protect LGBTQ+ individuals, and today, the Pride Parade in Oslo is one of the most significant Pride events in the world.
New Zealand, an island country off of Australia, is one of the best places in the world for LGBTQ+ individuals. It legalized both same-sex marriage and same-sex adoption in 2013, and like countries in Europe, has strong legal protections for LGBTQ+ individuals. In South Africa, gay marriage became legal in 2006, making it the only country on the African continent to allow for gay marriage.