According to the latest “Rainbow Europe” report – which is published each year by the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Intersex Association (ILGA) – Malta is the most LGBT-friendly country on the continent.
Based on the ILGA’s analysis of laws and policies in 49 countries – examining everything from hate crime and hate speech to legal gender recognition – Malta received a score of 92 out of 100, with the next most accepting nation (Denmark) only scoring 73.
Denmark, Belgium, Norway and Luxembourg completed the top five most LGBT-friendly countries, with Sweden, France, Montenegro, Iceland and Portugal rounding out the top 10.
The UK came in at number 14, while Turkey, Poland, Russia, Romania and Monaco all appeared in the bottom 10, signifying the least accepting countries.
Azerbaijan came at the very bottom of the list, with a score of just two out of 100.
While homosexuality is not illegal in Azerbaijan, gay marriage and gay adoption are banned, conversion therapy is legal and there are no protections against employment or housing discrimination for LGBT+ people.
Homosexuality is also legal in Turkey, but it has become more religiously conservative in recent years, with legislation around “offenses against public morality” sometimes used in regards to queer people.
Italy came surprisingly low at number 33, with a score of 24 out of 100, while Hungary – which recently proposed banning material which it says “encourages gender change or homosexuality” in schools – came in at number 30 with a score of 29.
Denmark had risen seven places in the list since last year, a move which the ILGA says was “mainly fuelled by the amendments to its hate crime and equal treatment legislations”.
Meanwhile, the UK suffered the most dramatic drop in its score, year on year.
The IGLA said the drop in 11 points was caused by “evidence brought forward this year that the equality body is not, as set out in its mandate, effectively protecting on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity”.
It also noted: “This comes at a time of widespread political and media anti-trans sentiment, while the British government is not moving on long-promised reforms on gender recognition and banning so-called ‘conversion therapy’ for all.”
In contrast, the organisation said: “France improved its implementation of the equality action plan, passed a ban on conversion therapies, lifted bans on blood donation, and adopted a law on medically assisted insemination”, while “Greece also lifted bans on blood donations and adopted a new equality action plan.”
The top 10 most LGBT-friendly countries in Europe:
The 10 least GBT-friendly countries in Europe:
42. San Marino