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Helsinki (photo: Pexels)

Nordic countries rate highly for LGBT+ travellers

An LGBT+ advocacy group has ranked 49 countries on their treatment of such travelers, and the Nordic countries came high on the list.

The European region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, ILGA-Europe, has released its rankings of how countries treat LGBT+ travellers.

They rated 49 countries, including the 28 EU member states, on human rights violations and discrimination against such individuals.

The body says that the rankings are based on how the laws and policies of each country impact the lives of LGBT+ people and that they track each country using a wide range of indicators, covering everything from equality, family issues and hate speech to legal gender recognition, freedom of expression and asylum rights.

Of the countries listed, four of the Nordic countries are in the top ten, with Finland, Denmark and Norway taking fourth, fifth and sixth places, respectively.

Sweden was just slightly lower on the list in tenth place, though Iceland only made it in the top twenty, at 18th.

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Malta took first place on the list for the fourth year in a row. The country legalised same-sex activity in 1973, passed same-sex marriage laws in 2017, and was the first country in the European Union to ban conversion therapy.

Peter Vella, director for the UK and Ireland of the Malta Tourism Authority, told the UK newspaper The Independent that the Maltese have a reputation for “kindness and excellent hospitality”.

“Malta holds a unique combination of traditional and historical culture with a contemporary and welcoming mindset towards LGBT+ travellers and our people continue to set an impressive example for other European countries to follow.”

Belgium came second in the survey, with Luxembourg third.

Azerbaijan came last. And, though Latvia and Poland were ranked low, in 39th and 38th place, respectively, Lithuania was slightly higher on the list in 32nd and Estonia was close to Iceland in 21st.

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