"Vancouver Canada" by Nick Kenrick.. is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Seven LGBTQ-friendly Travel Destinations Around the World

When queer people travel, we must always consider our safety. There are 195 countries in the world, each with its own cultures and legal systems, many of which can be homophobic and transphobic. In order to celebrate our authentic selves abroad and fully enjoy our vacations, LGBTQ travelers must be aware of which countries are welcoming to us. The good news is that there are countless places around the world that are safe for us to visit! Following are seven queer-friendly travel destinations to consider for your next holiday.


Vancouver, Canada 

Canada is consistently ranked among the most LGBTQ-friendly nations in the world, reviving a 90 out of 100 equality score from Equaldex, an online knowledge base cataloging LGBTQ rights and attitudes around the world.

Vancouver is located just north of Washington state, settled in Canada’s British Columbia. Visitors can go whale watching, embark on a seaplane tour, or visit one of the city’s many parks and gardens. From May to October, visitors can traverse the famous Richmond Night Market, the largest outdoor night market in North America. The Davie Village is the center of Vancouver’s queer community, complete with an amazing nightlife scene and rainbow flags on every corner.


Reykjavík, Iceland 

Iceland is ranked as Europe’s most LGBTQ-friendly country, also receiving a 90 Equaldex score. It was the world’s first nation to elect a queer head of state.

The progressive nation’s capital city of Reykjavík is filled with architectural and historical wonders, including most notably the Hallgrímskirkja church, which is globally recognizable. The city is home to several museums including the National Museum of Iceland and The Settlement Exhibition, a museum exhibition including ancient ruins of Viking buildings from the 10th century. Further north lies the Grótta Island Lighthouse, known for its stunning views of the Aurora Borealis. Reykjavík celebrates queer identities with various festivals throughout the year and is home to the world-renowned LGBTQ travel agency Pink Iceland.


Queensland, Australia

Australia is another one of the world’s more queer-friendly destinations, receiving an 84 Equaldex rating.

Queensland is actually not a city but rather a state located in the country’s northeast. Off the coast of Queensland lies the Great Barrier Reef, perhaps the area’s most popular attraction. A vast landscape of nature, Queensland includes koala sanctuaries, several miles of beaches, and the Skyrail Rainforest Cableway overlooking the beautiful Barron Gorge National Park. Queensland’s capital city is Brisbane, a beautiful coastal city with modern architecture. While Brisbane may not be the bustling queer metropolis that Sydney is, Brisbane has a welcoming, small queer scene that is on the rise.


Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 

Brazil is ranked as South America’s second-most queer-friendly country, with an Equaldex score of 82.

Rio de Janeiro is a breathtaking coastal city, famous for the Copacabana and Ipanema beaches. Rio is best known for the iconic Christ the Redeemer statue, located atop Corcovado or ‘hunchback’ mountain. All of these sights are visible when taking a cable car up the Pão de Açúcar or ‘sugarloaf’ mountain, which allows for the most beautiful views in the city. Rio is viewed as Brazil’s most liberal city and is a popular destination of queer travelers around the world. Complete with several queer clubs, a drag scene, and inclusive carnivals, this is one gay destination.


Cape Town, South Africa

South Africa is Africa’s most queer-friendly nation, with its Equaldex rating of 76 eclipsing its neighboring nations.

Cape Town is the country’s lush capital city, complete with gorgeous beaches, mountains, and valleys. Another of Cape Town’s natural attractions is the incredibly colorful Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden located at the base of Table Mountain. Just a short 45-minute drive down the southern peninsula to Simon’s Town and travelers can experience the adorable Boulders Beach Penguin Colony. De Waterkant is Cape Town’s beloved gay village, complete with eateries, hotels, clubs, and saunas.


Bangkok, Thailand

Thailand ranks as the 10th most queer-friendly nation in Asia, with an Equaldex score of 52. While this score is considerably lower than other nations on the list, this is because gay marriage and non-binary gender aren’t legally recognized, not because it is dangerous to travel there. This means that while queer people in Thailand face certain challenges — like that conversion therapy isn’t banned — visitors and locals are not at risk of being persecuted by the government. In Thailand, there is no censorship or discrimination allowed against queer people. For comparison, the U.S. state of Alabama has also not banned conversion therapy and has a 58 score.

The capital city of Thailand, Bangkok boasts a rich cultural history and a modern bustling nightlife. Visitors can explore traditional architecture like Wat Pho, a Buddhist temple completed in the 16th century, or marvel at modern architectural wonders, like MahaNakhon, a gleaming uniquely-shaped skyscraper often referred to as the Tetris Building. Bangkok is known for its limitless shopping, and is often seen as the epicenter of Thailand’s queer culture, complete with a drag scene and several LGBTQ clubs.

For more information on LGBTQ rights around the globe, visit equaldex.com.