Friendly and Happy International Travel

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Planning a trip? Want one that will make you feel absolutely gay (as well as in the happy gay sense)?

Then you might consider going to some of the gay-friendliest and most satisfied countries around the globe.

Spartacus, an international gay travel guide, released a “Gay Travel Index” that rates over 130 countries in the world on their laws and attitudes toward lgbt travelers. Some positive categories rate “Anti-discrimination legislation,” “Marriage/Partnership,” and “LGBT-Marketing,” while some negative categories include “Anti-gay laws,” “Murders,” and “Death sentences.”

The countries scoring in the top 10 were Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Canada, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Uruguay. Make a trip out of all ten!

The only country from North America listed high was Canada, which was also the first country outside of Europe to legalize gay marriage. It scores high in all categories, but loses a point because of its restrictions on immigrants with an HIV-positive rating: although it does not require people who are visiting Canada on short-term visas to get tested, it is mandatory for anyone intending to stay for over six months and, if positive, individuals can be refused permission to immigrate.

Uruguay, from a divided South America on lgbt issues, should rise higher on the list after its passage of gay marriage earlier this year. In fact, the only thing holding it back is that it has almost no marketing toward lgbt individuals.

The United States scores low, ranking 38th with Thailand, Mexico, and Italy. The reasons for its low score include a high “Religious influence” that is anti-lgbt, and that in some instances, the locals are considered hostile. This ranking might change quite considerably after the reversing of critical sections of the Defense of Marriage Act, though compared to progressive and liberal Scandinavians, we still have a lot on which to work.

While the country overall doesn’t rate high, compared to other countries on the list individual states score within the very top. New York, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Connecticut dominate the list because of their openness and progressive laws. North and South Carolina, Utah, and Alabama bring up the bottom because of legal and social feelings about lgbt individuals. So travelers who are looking for lobster, gay beaches, and upscale lodges for skiing know where to look.

This list corresponds positively with the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development’s “Better Life Index” around the topic of Life Satisfaction, with Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Denmark, the Netherlands, and Canada making it to the top of the countries surveyed there as well. “Life Satisfaction” is measured in this survey by how people “evaluate their life as a whole rather than their current feelings.” These top countries have a close satisfaction level between the sexes, have higher education levels, and day-to-day are more satisfied with their experiences. The United States in this survey scored fourteenth, higher than average in all categories.

So this summer, get away and find someplace accepting and fabulous for all of your lgbt travel needs. Gallivant through Europe, salsa in South America, or stay close to home in destinations within the U.S. or Canada.

You can find the Gay Travel Index here  and the results of the Better Life Index here  where you can manipulate the indexes to find which countries best match the important factors in your life.

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