Revealed: this is officially Europe’s most LGBTQ+ friendly country

Malta has topped the rankings for whopping seven years on the trot

Ed Cunningham
Written by
Ed Cunningham
News Editor, Time Out UK and Time Out London
Faces of LGBTQ+ Hong Kong
Photograph: Shutterstock

Much of Europe is, thankfully, becoming a much safer and more welcoming place for LGBTQ+ people. In general (but, unfortunately, not everywhere), countries across the continent appear to be providing queer people of all stripes with greater rights and freedoms.

And that’s a trend shown by the latest Rainbow Europe study. Every year since 2009, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Intersex Association (ILGA) has published this report, which is essentially a ranking of European countries based on their laws and policies protecting LGBTQ+ rights and freedoms. Each nation in the ranking receives a score on a scale of zero to 100.

And top of the rankings in 2022 is... Malta! Which, to anyone who’s followed the Rainbow Europe study before, won’t come as a surprise. With a score of 92, Malta has now topped the list for a whopping seven years in a row.

Next up comes Denmark with 74 points. The Danes have rapidly climbed the ranks thanks to recent legislation against discrimination and hate crimes. Belgium comes third with a rating of 72.

Down the other end of the scale, Azerbaijan, Turkey, Armenia and Russia all receive single-digit scores, while Poland gets the lowest ranking in the EU with 13. Few of these countries offer much protection for LGBTQ+ people against discrimination and violence, with Poland also dropping in the rankings due to authorities’ banning of Pride events.

The UK, meanwhile, dropped from tenth to 14th place – the most dramatic drop of any country in the list. The ILGA says that this was primarily caused by the UK’s ‘widespread political and media anti-trans sentiment’ and refusal to extend its conversion therapy ban to all LGBTQ+ people.

Here’s the full Rainbow Europe map:

Rainbow Europe Map 2022
Image: European International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Intersex Association

Check out the full 2022 edition of the Rainbow Europe report here.

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