The best overall environment for the LGBTQ+ community in Europe also happens to be a sun-drenched Mediterranean island with just the right mix of beaches, nightlife, and history dating back thousands of years.
Every year since 2009, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Intersex Association (ILGA) has ranked European nations on their queer-friendliness to create the Rainbow Europe Map and Index. Several dozen factors like conversion therapy and marriage equality are used to create the Rainbow Europe Map and Index, but the criteria is broken down into seven general categories: equality and non-discrimination; family; hate crime and hate speech; legal gender recognition; intersex bodily integrity; civil society space; and asylum issues.
For the seventh year in a row, Malta was selected as the top country on the 2022 Rainbow Europe Map and Index, and it wasn’t even close. Malta scored nearly 20 points higher than every other country on the list, and had a perfect score in five of the seven general categories.
Germany scored high marks on the 2022 Rainbow Europe Map, but still needs reforms to the legal framework for gender recognition and parental rights.
14. United Kingdom
The United Kingdom dropped from 10th place to 14th on the Rainbow Europe Map in large part because it hasn’t followed through on promised LGBTQ+ protections (and rising transphobic -- read more here).
13. The Netherlands
To place higher than 13 on the Rainbow Europe Map, The Netherlands will need to improve its policies on conversion therapy, gender recognition, and medical self-determination.
Finland had perfect marks in civil society from the Rainbow Europe Map, but still needed work on other issues like gender recognition and parental rights.
Spain would have scored higher on the Rainbow Europe Map, but some regions have yet to ban conversion therapy, and problems exist at the national level for issues like medical self-determination.
Portugal rounds out the top ten countries on the Rainbow Europe Map with a score of 62 percent.
In 9th place on the Rainbow Europe Map, Iceland still has some work to do clarifying its hate crime laws and reforming policies relating to asylum and medical self-determination.
The Balkan nation of Montenegro placed 8th on the Rainbow Europe Map, but still needs improvement in areas ranging from reforming hate crime laws to banning conversion therapy.
France scored well on the Rainbow Europe Map with 64 percent, but it still needs work on parental rights, gender recognition, and medical self-determination.
Sweden rated 68 percent and 6th place with issues relating to asylum, medical self-determination, and gender recognition keeping it from placing higher.
Luxembourg needs work on parental rights and gender recognition, but otherwise scored well on the Rainbow Europe Map.
Coming in at 4th place on the Rainbow Europe Map, Norway still needs to ban conversion therapy and ensure fair policies regarding gender recognition and medical self-determination.
Belgium took 3rd place on the Rainbow Europe Map, needing only work on policies and laws regarding hate crimes, medical self-determination, and gender recognition.
In 2nd place with 74 percent on the Rainbow Europe Map is Denmark, needing work on identity recognition, parental rights, and rainbow families.
The hands-down winner of the Rainbow Europe Map is Malta coming in with 92 percent, a whopping 18 points higher than its closest competitor. Malta had a perfect score in all but two major categories: equity and non-discrimination, and intersex bodily integrity.