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The safest places for LGBTQ+ travelers in 2023

As some US states and other countries push anti-gay and anti-trans laws, these are some of the more welcoming destinations.

Ally Rzesa/Globe Staff

Last week, the largest LGBTQ+ civil rights group in the United States took the unprecedented step of issuing a travel warning for gay tourists contemplating a trip to Florida.

The warning from the Human Rights Campaign, which came on the heels of sweeping anti-gay and anti-trans laws passed by the state, doesn’t call for a boycott of travel to Florida but warns that newly passed laws and policies may pose risks to minorities, immigrants, and gay travelers. The NAACP, the League of United Latin American Citizens, the Florida Immigrant Coalition, and Equality Florida have all issued warnings about travel to the Sunshine State.


Days after Florida’s new restrictions were enacted, Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni signed one of the world’s strictest anti-LGBTQ laws, which calls for the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality.” In short, domestic and international travel can be a minefield for LGBTQ+ travelers.

So, for this week’s survey, it’s time to look at places that are a bit friendlier toward LGBTQ+ travelers, along with a few places to avoid. Researcher Asher Fergusson and his wife, Lyric, who run the family-oriented travel website Asher & Lyric, regularly compile one of the most thorough lists of the best and worst countries for gay travelers. Their LGBTQ Danger Index ranks more than 200 countries by looking at eight factors pertinent to LGBTQ+ travelers, such as same-sex marriage rights, worker protections, discrimination protections, adoption recognition, illegal same-sex relationships, and morality laws.

Here are the 20 countries ranked safest for LGBTQ+ travelers

1. Canada

2. Sweden

3. Netherlands

4. Malta

5. Norway

6. Portugal

7. Spain

8. Denmark

9. Belgium

10. United Kingdom

11. France

12. Iceland

13. Switzerland

14. Ireland

15. Luxemburg

16. South Africa

17. Germany

18. Chile

19. Uruguay

20. Austria

The US missed the top 20 safest places for LGBTQ+ travelers and landed at number 25, down from 24 the previous year. That dip came in part from new laws such as the so-called “Don’t Say Gay” law passed last year in Florida. The lower ranking is also a result of individual states that have stripped protections for LGBTQ+ residents.


Several popular Caribbean islands scored poorly in the survey. St. Lucia scored an F. Same-sex consensual sex there can result in up to 10 years in prison. St. Vincent and the Grenadines also scored an F. Jamaica ranked 161 out of the 203 countries surveyed, scoring poorly because same-sex consensual sex can lead to up to 10 years in prison with hard labor. While some of these laws are not strictly enforced, their intent can permeate societal attitudes, making these places unsafe for LGBTQ+ travelers.

The 10 most dangerous Caribbean islands for LGBTQ+ travelers

1. St. Lucia

2. St. Vincent and the Grenadines

3. Jamaica

4. Dominica

5. Barbados

6. Antigua and Barbuda

7. Dominican Republic

8. Trinidad and Tobago

9. St. Kitts and Nevis

10. Turks and Caicos

Equaldex, an online database tracking LGBTQ+ rights worldwide, has its own rankings for travelers, including the friendliest states in the US for LGBTQ+ travelers.

Equaldex’s 10 friendliest LGBTQ+ states

1. Vermont

2. Massachusetts

3. Connecticut

4. New Hampshire

5. Rhode Island

6. Washington, D.C.

7. New York

8. California

9. New Jersey

10. Washington

Christopher Muther can be reached at Follow him @Chris_Muther and Instagram @chris_muther.