Pride Month is just around the corner. It's that time of the year when the world celebrates the LGBTQ+ community, their right to love who they love, as well as to live out their true selves. Rainbow flags will decorate the streets, filling the world with lots of color as a reminder of how vital this community truly is. Here in Europe, Pride Month has become a particularly huge celebration. From being the 'old continent
' just a couple of decades ago, it's become one of the most progressive and liberated regions out there. And it's all thanks to gay-friendly countries in Europe like Spain, France, and more!
Let's start with France. Although France wasn't the first to legalize homosexuality, it did pave the way for it. Back in 1791, right after the French Revolution, the country repealed all of its sodomy laws in its Penal Code of 1791. The code didn't mention homosexuality specifically, but the 'act
' of two men in sexual intercourse became less of a crime. It would take a whopping 222 years later, in 2013, for France to legalize same-sex marriage. And today, it's become one of the most gay-friendly countries out there. Le Marais
, a famous district in the capital city, Paris, is even known as a gay haven!
Spain is one of the most liberated countries in the world so it's only natural that it's also another gay-friendly destination in Europe! Back in 1979, it became the third nation in the continent to legalize homosexuality and, a few decades later, legalized same-sex marriage in 2005. Today, you'll find that Spain has become so used to the LGBTQ+ community that queer couples hardly catch any attention anymore. Moreover, the country houses a ton
of gay-friendly European cities. They include Barcelona, Madrid, Ibiza, and more. You'll want to celebrate Pride Month in any of these places at least once!
Back in 2005, Portugal became one of the first European countries to legalize same-sex marriage. Just like its Iberian Peninsula neighbor, Spain, this nation has also embraced the LGBTQ+ community in more ways than one! In fact, the country's constitution even bans discrimination against members of the queer community. Thanks to this, Portugal is one of the very few countries that has actively instituted laws to protect its LGBTQ+ citizens and residents. Moreover, the country's capital, Lisbon
, annually hosts the historic Queer Lisboa
, a film festival of gay and queer films. Established in 1997, it's the first event of its kind.
Malta is an underrated European country in more ways than one. Because it's among the lesser-known nations in the region, its many contributions to the LGBTQ+ community remain unnoticed. Did you know that Malta was the first European country to ban conversion therapy? That alone should make this place one of the best gay European destinations. Then add to that the fact that the country legalized same-sex marriage back in 2017. As for transgender folks, Malta recognizes their gender identity. They even allow them to change their genders in various legal documents. How's that for progressive?
Speaking of transgenderism, Belgium became one of the first European nations to legally recognize their gender identity. The government has even passed numerous anti-discrimination laws, all to protect the LGBTQ+ community from harm. Not to mention the fact that in 1975, Belgium became the second country in the continent to decriminalize same-sex relationships. They eventually legalized same-sex marriage in 2003. Thus, Belgium is among the most gay-friendly countries, not just in Europe, but in the entire world.
If you're part of the LGBTQ+ community and you have a Schengen Visa
, make sure to visit Luxembourg when you can! This largely underrated European destination has made leaps and bounds in terms of accepting queer people. In fact, its current prime minister, Xavier Bettel, is one of the very few openly-gay heads of state in the entire world. That alone should tell you that Luxembourg is one of the best gay European countries out there. Add to that the fact that same-sex marriage has been legal since 2015 and the legal recognition of transgender people.
Norway is famous for a lot of things but others rarely remember it as one of the most gay-friendly countries out there! It's a shame too, considering that it became one of the first nations in the world to include sexual orientation in its anti-discrimination laws. And of course, same-sex marriage has been legal here since 2009. When it was first legalized, Norway became the first Scandinavian country and the sixth in the entire world to do it. And today, thanks to its largely progressive and liberated society, members of the LGBTQ+ community can express their love, gender identity, and more here without any worry at all!
It's easy to dismiss Ireland as a conservative country considering it's devoutly Roman Catholic. However, others don't seem to realize that nation voted to legalize same-sex marriage. It was the first European nation to recognize same-sex marriage as the will of the people. That alone is enough to make the members of the LGBTQ+ community want to travel here. Of course, you can also add its colorful and jovial Pride Month celebrations for that. Considering that its capital city, Dublin
, is quite the collection of nightlife hotspots, gays, lesbians, transgender folks, and non-binary people can have a ball here!
Whether it's Pride Month or not, the most gay-friendly countries in Europe continue to prove that love will always win no matter what. If you're a member of the LGBTQ+ community, know that you have plenty of safe havens in this part of the world!