LGBT Rights by Country 2022

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LGBT stands for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender. LGBT, or LGBTQ+ (a common variant), are used as an umbrella term for topics pertaining to sexual and gender identity. It is used to refer to anyone who is non-heterosexual and non-cisgender instead of exclusively applying to people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, such as those who identify as queer or intersex individuals. Other variants of LGBT include LGBTQ, LGBTQ+, LGBTQIA, and LGBTQIA+. Differences in the variants do not necessarily represent differences in politics within the community but are rather just preferences among individuals and groups. LGBT people around the world face inequality, discrimination, and violence. Rights affecting those who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community vary greatly by country or jurisdiction. LGBTQ+ rights encompass everything from the death penalty to the legal recognition of same-sex marriage.

LGBTQ+ Rights in the United States

The U.S. has made great strides in LGBTQ+ rights over the years. Although the U.S. Supreme Courts have legalized many LGBTQ+ rights, jobs, housing, and service discrimination still exist and rights continue to vary by jurisdiction. The U.S. has no federal law outlawing discrimination nationwide. The Equality Act would amend existing civil rights laws to explicitly state sexual orientation and gender identity as protected characteristics. By including this language, the Act would provide explicit non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people nationwide and all areas of life such as housing, education, employment, public spaces and services, and federally funded programs among other things. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has been fighting for LGBTQ+ rights since 1936 and brings more LGBTQ+ cases than any other national organization.

Some of the greatest victories for the LGBTQ+ community in the United States are the legalization of gay marriage and the legalization of adoption of children by same-sex couples. Gay marriage legalization expanded from one state in 2004 to all fifty states in 2015 through federal court rulings, state court rulings, state legislation, and direct popular votes. The Supreme Court struck down all bans on same-sex adoption in 2016, legalizing it in all 50 states. Despite significant progress, the United States still has a way to go for LGBTQ+ rights.

LGQBTQ+ Rights Around the World

LGBTQ+ rights vary greatly between countries. In some countries, homosexuality is illegal, while in others it is legal but organizations and promotion of “nontraditional sexual relations” are illegal. In a few countries, homosexuality can receive a death penalty. Homosexual activity is a capital offense in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Nigeria, Sudan, and Somalia.

Transgender individuals can join the military in only 19 countries: Canada, Bolivia, French Guiana, Spain, France, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Estonia, Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Belgium, Israel, Australia, and New Zealand. Thailand allows transgender individuals to join only in administrative positions. Only Ecuador, Brazil, and Malta have outlawed conversion therapies nationwide. Conversion therapy is not outlawed in the United States nationwide; however, Hawaii, California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Illinois, Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine have statewide bans.

Only 5% of the United Nations member states have written into their constitutions that sexual orientation-based discrimination is prohibited. These states include Ecuador, Mexico, Portugal, Bolivia, South Africa, Sweden, and Nepal. Most of Europe and South America have taken steps to tackle sexual orientation-based discrimination in the workplace, as well as some other countries around the world. In general, same-sex couples are not allowed to adopt outside the Americas, Europe, and Australia and New Zealand.

The Netherlands was the first country to allow same-sex marriage in 2001 and Ecuador is the most recent country to legalize it. Same-sex marriage is not legalized in the majority of Eastern Europe, Africa, and Asia. Only 13% of UN member states have legalized gay marriage and a handful recognize civil unions, including Peru, Greece, and Italy.

Safest Countries for LGBTQ+ People

According to the LGBTQ+ Danger Index, below are the ten best and safest countries in the world for LGBTQ+ people. The index is based on each country’s LGBT rights for its citizens.

Sweden is the most gay-friendly country in the world. Sweden has legalized same-sex marriage, worker protections for both gender identity and sexual orientation, constitutional protections against discrimination, and criminalization of violence against LGBTQ+ people. Additionally, same-sex couples are allowed to adopt in Sweden. Canada ranks second as the most LGBTQ+-friendly nation in the world. Unlike Sweden, Canada has worker protections for sexual orientation only, not including gender identity. Canada was the first country outside of Europe and the fourth country in the world to legalized gay marriage on July 20, 2005. Additionally, same-sex couples can adopt and there are constitutional protections against discrimination of LGBTQ+ people.

Norway is the third-most LGBTQ+-friendly nation. Norway has legalized gay marriage and has worker protections for both sexual orientation and gender identity. Norway has broad protections for discrimination against the LGBTQ+ community, rather than constitutional protections, and has criminalized hate crimes against the LGBTQ+ community. Like Sweden and Canada, Norway allows for joint and second-parent adoption for same-sex couples. Portugal ranks fourth on the list. Portugal became the sixth European country and the eighth country in the world to legalize gay marriage on May 17, 2010. In 2016, same-sex couples became eligible to adopt. Additionally, gays, lesbians, and bisexuals are all allowed to join the Portuguese military. The LGBTQ+ has constitutional protections against discrimination as well as worker protections for both sexual orientation and gender identity.

Ranking fifth on the list is Belgium. Belgium was the second country in the world to legalize gay marriage behind the Netherlands. Same-sex couples have equal adoption rights as opposite-sex couples and LGBT people are not banned from the military. Belgium offers broad protections for LGBTQ+ people against discrimination and has worker protections for sexual orientation and gender identity. The United Kingdom is the sixth-most LGBTQ+-friendly country in the world. On March 29, 2014, the UK legalized same-sex marriage. Laws to allow same-sex couples to adopt passed in England and Wales in 2005 and Scotland in 2009. Since 2000, LGBT people have been allowed to openly serve in the military and discrimination based on sexual orientation has been prohibited since 2010. The British military also grants same-sex couples the same rights to housing and allowances as it does to opposite-sex couples.

Finland, the third Nordic country on the list, the seventh-most LGTBQ+-friendly country in the world. Same-sex marriage and same-sex adoption have been legal since March 1, 2017. Finland has worker protections for both sexual orientation and gender identity and has broad protections against discrimination. France was the 13th country to legalize gay marriage on May 18, 2013. Same-sex couples have also been legally able to adopt since the same-sex marriage law took effect. France offers worker protections for both sexual orientation and gender identity and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals are allowed to serve openly in the military. In 2004, the National Assembly approved an amendment to existing anti-discrimination laws to include homophobic comments as illegal.

Iceland ranks ninth for LGBTQ+ friendliness. Same-sex marriage was legalized in Iceland in 2010 by a unanimous vote to define marriage as between two individuals. Since 2006, same-sex couples have had equal access to adoption and IVF (in vitro fertilization) as opposite-sex couples. In 2018, Iceland passed a law banning employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sex characteristics. Finishing the top ten list of the most LGBTQ+-friendly countries is Spain. In 2005, Spain legalized both same-sex marriage and same-sex adoption. Spain has nationwide worker protections for sexual orientation only; however, some autonomous communities in Spain have banned discrimination based on both sexual orientation and gender identity. Additionally, lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people to serve openly in the Spanish Armed Forces.

The ten worst countries for LGBT rights are:

  1. Nigeria
  2. Qatar
  3. Yemen
  4. Saudi Arabia
  5. Tanzania
  6. Iran
  7. Sudan
  8. Barbados
  9. Malaysia
  10. Malawi

These countries have no LGBTQ+ protections. Homosexuality in these countries is subject to imprisonment, stoning, flogging, and, in some countries, can result in the death penalty.

LGBT Rights by Country 2022

Country 2022 Population
China1,425,887,337
India1,417,173,173
United States338,289,857
Indonesia275,501,339
Pakistan235,824,862
Nigeria218,541,212
Brazil215,313,498
Bangladesh171,186,372
Russia144,713,314
Mexico127,504,125
Japan123,951,692
Ethiopia123,379,924
Philippines115,559,009
Egypt110,990,103
DR Congo99,010,212
Vietnam98,186,856
Iran88,550,570
Turkey85,341,241
Germany83,369,843
Thailand71,697,030
United Kingdom67,508,936
Tanzania65,497,748
France64,626,628
South Africa59,893,885
Italy59,037,474
Myanmar54,179,306
Kenya54,027,487
Colombia51,874,024
South Korea51,815,810
Spain47,558,630
Uganda47,249,585
Sudan46,874,204
Argentina45,510,318
Algeria44,903,225
Iraq44,496,122
Afghanistan41,128,771
Poland39,857,145
Ukraine39,701,739
Canada38,454,327
Morocco37,457,971
Saudi Arabia36,408,820
Angola35,588,987
Uzbekistan34,627,652
Peru34,049,588
Malaysia33,938,221
Yemen33,696,614
Ghana33,475,870
Mozambique32,969,518
Nepal30,547,580
Madagascar29,611,714
Venezuela28,301,696
Ivory Coast28,160,542
Cameroon27,914,536
Niger26,207,977
Australia26,177,413
North Korea26,069,416
Taiwan23,893,394
Burkina Faso22,673,762
Mali22,593,590
Syria22,125,249
Sri Lanka21,832,143
Malawi20,405,317
Zambia20,017,675
Romania19,659,267
Chile19,603,733
Kazakhstan19,397,998
Ecuador18,001,000
Guatemala17,843,908
Chad17,723,315
Somalia17,597,511
Netherlands17,564,014
Senegal17,316,449
Cambodia16,767,842
Zimbabwe16,320,537
Guinea13,859,341
Rwanda13,776,698
Benin13,352,864
Burundi12,889,576
Tunisia12,356,117
Bolivia12,224,110
Belgium11,655,930
Haiti11,584,996
Jordan11,285,869
Dominican Republic11,228,821
Cuba11,212,191
South Sudan10,913,164
Sweden10,549,347
Czech Republic10,493,986
Honduras10,432,860
Greece10,384,971
Azerbaijan10,358,074
Portugal10,270,865
Papua New Guinea10,142,619
Hungary9,967,308
Tajikistan9,952,787
Belarus9,534,954
United Arab Emirates9,441,129
Israel9,038,309
Austria8,939,617
Togo8,848,699
Switzerland8,740,472
Sierra Leone8,605,718
Laos7,529,475
Hong Kong7,488,865
Serbia7,221,365
Nicaragua6,948,392
Libya6,812,341
Bulgaria6,781,953
Paraguay6,780,744
Kyrgyzstan6,630,623
Turkmenistan6,430,770
El Salvador6,336,392
Singapore5,975,689
Republic of the Congo5,970,424
Denmark5,882,261
Slovakia5,643,453
Central African Republic5,579,144
Finland5,540,745
Lebanon5,489,739
Norway5,434,319
Liberia5,302,681
Palestine5,250,072
New Zealand5,185,288
Costa Rica5,180,829
Ireland5,023,109
Mauritania4,736,139
Oman4,576,298
Panama4,408,581
Kuwait4,268,873
Croatia4,030,358
Georgia3,744,385
Eritrea3,684,032
Uruguay3,422,794
Mongolia3,398,366
Moldova3,272,996
Puerto Rico3,252,407
Bosnia And Herzegovina3,233,526
Albania2,842,321
Jamaica2,827,377
Armenia2,780,469
Lithuania2,750,055
Gambia2,705,992
Qatar2,695,122
Botswana2,630,296
Namibia2,567,012
Gabon2,388,992
Lesotho2,305,825
Slovenia2,119,844
Guinea Bissau2,105,566
North Macedonia2,093,599
Latvia1,850,651
Equatorial Guinea1,674,908
Trinidad And Tobago1,531,044
Bahrain1,472,233
Timor Leste1,341,296
Estonia1,326,062
Mauritius1,299,469
Cyprus1,251,488
Eswatini1,201,670
Djibouti1,120,849
Reunion974,052
Fiji929,766
Comoros836,774
Guyana808,726
Bhutan782,455
Solomon Islands724,273
Macau695,168
Luxembourg647,599
Montenegro627,082
Suriname618,040
Cape Verde593,149
Western Sahara575,986
Malta533,286
Maldives523,787
Brunei449,002
Bahamas409,984
Belize405,272
Guadeloupe395,752
Iceland372,899
Martinique367,507
Vanuatu326,740
Mayotte326,101
French Polynesia306,279
French Guiana304,557
New Caledonia289,950
Barbados281,635
Sao Tome And Principe227,380
Samoa222,382
Curacao191,163
Saint Lucia179,857
Guam171,774
Kiribati131,232
Grenada125,438
Micronesia114,164
Jersey110,778
Seychelles107,118
Tonga106,858
Aruba106,445
Saint Vincent And the Grenadines103,948
United States Virgin Islands99,465
Antigua And Barbuda93,763
Isle of Man84,519
Andorra79,824
Dominica72,737
Cayman Islands68,706
Bermuda64,184
Guernsey63,301
Greenland56,466
Faroe Islands53,090
Northern Mariana Islands49,551
Saint Kitts And Nevis47,657
Turks And Caicos Islands45,703
American Samoa44,273
Sint Maarten44,175
Marshall Islands41,569
Liechtenstein39,327
Monaco36,469
San Marino33,660
Gibraltar32,649
Saint Martin31,791
British Virgin Islands31,305
Palau18,055
Cook Islands17,011
Anguilla15,857
Nauru12,668
Wallis And Futuna11,572
Tuvalu11,312
Saint Barthelemy10,967
Saint Pierre And Miquelon5,862
Montserrat4,390
Falkland Islands3,780
Niue1,934
Tokelau1,871
Vatican City510

LGBT Rights by Country 2022