And here it is: The Spartacus Gay Travel Index 2020/2021! The year 2020 started with a huge worldwide challenge named Corona impacting not only our daily lives at home but also the travel industry specifically. Nevertheless, the German publisher of gay travel information and guidebooks, Spartacus, released today its annual Gay Travel Index with a detailed ranking of 202 (+5 countries) countries worldwide and their LGBTQ+ and gay-friendliness. The 8th edition by the Berlin-based publisher gives information for lesbian, gay, trans, and queer travelers about how gay-friendly a country and, therefore, a holiday destination is according to several ranking factors and criteria. LGBTQ+ and gay travelers can use this information as a guideline to prepare for their gaycation as well as taking the index ranking as an indicator for choosing the holiday destination regarding the local LGBTQ+ rights.
Spartacus Gay Travel Index 2020/2021
The guys behind Spartacus check each country on different criteria including anti-discrimination legislation, the possibility of equal marriage or civil partnership, if adoption is allowed, the actual situation of transgender rights, HIV travel restrictions as well as the current situation about how hostile locals are against LGBTQ+. New in 2020 is the assessment of the rights of intersex people, third gender options as well as the fact if conversion procedures are being banned by the country or now. Also, new this year is the added gay marketing section, which is becoming increasingly important for queer traveler’s decision-making but can also be an indication of local LGBTQ+ acceptance. The ranking of the Spartacus Gay Travel Index 2020/2021 is based on diverse sources such as Human Rights Watch, the UN campaign Free & Equal, and collected information about human rights violations of members of the LGBTQ+ community throughout the past year.
Most LGBT-friendly travel countries: Sweden, Canada & Malta
Thanks to the new evaluation criteria (intersex */conversion process/gay marketing), Germany, one of the disappointing countries in 2019 (Couple of Men reported), could gain one point in the overall ranking and finished 10th in the 2020/2021 index together with last year’s winner Portugal, New Zealand, and Iceland. Portugal deteriorates by two ranks due to the new criteria introduced by Spartacus in 2020. Both countries, therefore, show exemplarily the impact of small changes in their ranking in the top 50. Sad to read but the truth: “The global process of liberalizing LGBT rights has slowed down significantly”, Blu Media reports in their press release on March 12, 2020. Taiwan is undoubtedly one of the winners in this year’s index. The Asian country improves by 18 ranks due to the introduction of same-sex marriage and general, liberal politics. Also, Angola must be mentioned specifically because with officially abolishing the punishability of homosexuality, the African country improves from rank 104 to 65.Full Spartacus Gay Travel Index 2020
Gay Travel Index 2020/2021 for the USA
Another novelty in the Gay Travel Index 2020/2021 is the separate ranking of the individual states of the United States of America. Thereby, the US state of California made it all the way to the top with a total of 11 out of 13 possible points. The Spartacus Gay Travel Index sees the reasons, especially in the colorful LGBTQ+ culture and infrastructure of the state as well as the excellent legal situation. With this, California outstripped the states of Nevada and New York with one point. At the bottom of the ranking, Spartacus finds the US state of Ohio.
Some favorite destinations remain UNfriendly
Thailand, for example, which could increase its ranking from 47 to rank 20 in 2019, makes steps backward in the 2020 edition of the Gay Travel Index. And although we recognized the first steps in changing the LGBTQ+ rights in Japan, looking at the legal situation for queer travelers, the Asian country remains in the midfield of the ranking on rank 65 together with Angola. We also published some articles in the past weeks and month about popular travel destinations and about the local LGBTQ+ community:
- LGBTQ+ rights in Vietnam
- LGBTQ+ rights in Myanmar/Birma
- LGBTQ+ rights in Russia
- LGBTQ+ rights in Georgia
- LGBTQ+ rights in Lebanon
- LGBTQ+ rights in Cambodia
Unbelievable but true, there are still countries around the world with anti-LGBTQ+ legislation, prohibitions of organizing Gay Pride Events, and even penalize being gay, lesbian, trans, or simply different from the norm, mostly influenced by religion, even in 2020. Among them are Iran, Saudi Arabia, and parts of Nigeria. Very close to Europe but the worst country to travel to for LGBT and gay couples is the autonomous republic Chechen in Russia, where persecution, the death penalty, and punishment of LGBTQ+ people have been reported. Among the unfriendliest countries (but no death threat) are popular holiday destinations like Malaysia, Jamaica, Egypt Marocco, Russia as well as the Maldives and Haiti. Gay, lesbian, transsexual, and queer travelers should exercise extra caution when traveling to these parts of the world and continue their support for the local LGBTQ+ community where possible.
Gay-Friendly Countries traveled by Couple of Men
Rank 1: Gay-friendly Canada
Once again, our favorite gay travel destination made it all the way to the top. In our opinion, deservedly so. In the past two years, we traveled to Canada five times in total starting with our Winter road trip through Alberta to attend Jasper Pride Gay Ski Week visiting the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Last summer, we attended Edmonton Pride and did an adventurous road trip around Alberta’s northeastern lakes just after we visited Toronto and the Canadian Niagara Falls close to the US border. And again, after 2018, we started our pride travel year 2019 with a trip to the North American country attending Whistler Pride Gay Ski Week. And we are more than certain, that this wasn’t our last trip to Canada.
Rank 1: Gay-friendly Sweden
In 2018, we traveled for the first time ever together to the Scandinavian country Sweden to explore the capital city Stockholm just before EuroPride 2018. It should be our last time! In 2020, we return to Sweden attending Malmö Pride 2019 and explored the southern part of Sweden, also known as Skåne. And, what can we say!? We are in love with the country of ABBA with its wonderful people, exquisite cuisine, and rich culture in the capital city with the royal family and hip gay and LGBTQ+ locations like Secret Garden and regularly organized gay parties like King Kong. And don’t get us started with Stockholm’s 250 years old theme park Tivoli Gröna Lund and the MAMMA MIA The Party Musical. But do not underestimate the countryside which we could experience during our road trip to south Sweden. We are looking forward to seeing more of Sweden, hopefully already in 2020!
Rank 1: Gay-friendly Malta
Many people asked us in the past years, why Malta wasn’t listed as one of the gay-friendly countries at the Gay Travel Index 2018 and not on top in 2019. Correctly. But since the South European country recently changed the laws protecting LGBTQ+ rights, introducing equal marriage, and allow adoption, the mostly Catholic country made one of the biggest jumps all the way up to rank 4 in 2018 and all the way to top in 2020. Good to know: Malta was the first country in the European Union to prohibit the use of conversion therapy, while countries like Germany that were still fighting for it, made it a law in 2019. We traveled to Malta in November 2018 for the first time attending the first-ever LGBTQ+ travel summit in the capital city Valletta. We loved our time there hoping to be back for Gay Pride in 2019 or 2020 since we learned it must be one of the best in Southern Europe. Stay tuned, we are sure we will hear from Malta’s LGBTQ+ community more in the near future.
Rank 4: Gay-friendly Austria
Vienna, Salzburg, Southern Austria: The Alpine country stole our heart. Although the current government is considered to be conservative, right-wing, and offish towards the LGBTQ+ community, the Austrian government was forced by law to introduce “gay marriage” by January 2019. After spending the last two summers there including a Conchita Wurst concert in Salzburg, the Life Ball 2018 in Vienna, and a wonderful week in the South of Austria attending the Pink Lake Festival at Lake Wörth, we cannot wait to continue our gay travels to Austria to make the country even gayer. What about EuroPride 2019 as the next adventure?
Rank 6 (was rank 4): Gay-friendly Netherlands
Our home country The Netherlands, or as you might know it Holland, is for years already among the top 10 LGBTQ+ friendly countries in the world. Already in 2001, on April 1st to be precise, the European country legalized same-sex marriage by law and was thereby the first country in the world. Although Holland is very open-minded and gay-friendly, there is still much work to do to reduce prejudices among the people and keep on being an example of an LGBTQ+ friendly society. If you get the chance to put a trip to Amsterdam on your bucket list, come and join us for the pride walk 2019 and one week later for the unique canal pride parade. Definitely an annual highlight for us!
Rank 5 (was rank 4): Gay-friendly Spain
Spain is among the top gay-friendly countries in the world, again! A little history: The Spanish government legalized same-sex marriage already in 2005 and turned the south European country to be one of the leading LGBTQ+ friendly places in the world. Lucky us, we could travel already several times starting with our City Weekend to Barcelona and our first Gay Cruise with La Demence. In the meanwhile, we managed to visit Malaga, Ibiza, Cadiz, and during our second The Cruise Adventure we could explore all the big Canary Islands including La Palma, Lanzarote, and Gran Canaria. The Spanish capital city Madrid and the Northern parts of Spain are still on our bucket list and are just waiting for us to be explored for our gay travel blog. Looking forward to meeting you there, guys!
Rank 10 (after rank 23 in 2019): Gay-friendly Germany
Last year, Germany was surprisingly one of the countries with the best development regarding LGBTQ+ rights. But the country is a good example of how a positive development (same-sex marriage since 2017) is not just for a moment. It is an ongoing process of educating society about diversity. As mentioned earlier, much needs to be done in the future to keep the positive spirit in Germany and to develop an even more welcoming mindset among the people. Nevertheless, Germany, the home country of Karl is still a gay-friendly country and destination despite the current ranking. But especially in the countryside in eastern and southern Germany, LGBTQ+ travelers who show their attractions towards each other in public might face homophobia. Cities like Berlin, Hamburg, Cologne, and Frankfurt are popular destinations for gays and lesbians to travel to. It is important to support the German LGBTQ+ community even in 2019 by attending one of the 60+ Gay Pride and CSD Parades throughout the whole country. Keep going – Happy Pride Germany!
Rank 15: Gay-friendly Colombia
Yes, you can believe it! The South American country Colombia made it all the way to rank 15! And we can only confirm that after our trip to Colombia last autumn. We visited Cartagena, the capital city of Bogotá, and Medellín. And we loved it. Especially the fact, that same-sex marriage is legal, LGBTQ+ rights are protected and we as openly gay travelers did not have to face any homophobia. The highlight was the circumstance, that while we were in Bogotá, the first female AND lesbian mayor of Bogotá was elected. Meanwhile, Claudia López even married her partner. We definitely want to come back and see even more of this fascinating country in South America.
Rank 18 (was rank 4): Finland
After 2016, we traveled to Finland again last year to explore more of one of our favorite European cities in 2018. The city of Helsinki and Finland, in general, is a very gay-friendly destination that we still can recommend visiting for LGBTQ+ travelers. As a reminder: Since March 2017 same-sex marriage is legal and fully excepted in Finland. No wonder, that we did not experience any kind of homophobic behavior but instead, we could test some great gay-friendly hotels like the Klaus K Hotel in Helsinki’s city center. Other highlights of both our trip to Helsinki: a visit to Löyly Sauna, theme park Linnanmäki, and, of course, the exploring beauty of Finnish nature by kayak and bike. Hopefully, we will be back soon to see more of this beautiful country in Scandinavia, maybe for Helsinki Pride Festival?
Tips & Reviews: Gay Travel Know How
- Gay-friendly Travel: The Gay Travel Index 2019 >
- Gaycation Planning: Our Gay Travel Guides 2020 >
- Gay Events: Top 5 LGBTQ+ events in 2020 >
- Photos & Video & Stories: Gay Pride Parades Worldwide >
- LGBTQ+ Winter Events: Top 13 Gay Ski Weeks Worldwide >
- Traveling as a Couple with our Couple of Men Blog Articles >
- Reviews of Hotels around the world: Gay-friendly tested Hotels >
- News about Legislation, Events, and any LGBTQ+ related Travel News >
Gay Travel Index 2020/2021 by Spartacus
- Website Spartacus Gay Guide
- Facebook of Spartacus Travel
- Website ILGA – LGBTI Association
- Website IGLTA – Gay Lesbian Travel Association
About Spartacus International Gay Guide
You all might have heard already of the International Gay Travel Guides from the German publisher Spartacus. If not, you might want to have a closer look the next time you are traveling as they are providing helpful information for your next gay travels about Bars, Sauna, Events, Going Out, and Hotels. And, of course, check their annual Spartacus Gay Travel Index. But be advised: the Gay Travel Index by Spartacus for this year is supposed to be a guide to check the gay-friendliness of vacation hot spots in Europe and worldwide. Even if a county is ranked is low or high, please check the current official status of the tourism board of the country or ask for advice from the nearest representative office of the country you want to travel to.
Do you like it? PIN IT!