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Iceland's Gay Swim Team | Photo by Jeaneen Lund for Out magazine
The world can be a dangerous place to be LGBT — some places more than others. In roughly one-third of all countries worldwide, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are considered criminals; homosexuality is punishable by death in seven countries. By contrast, many northern European countries are very accepting of homosexuality.
And so, as The Washington Post reports, it comes as no surprise that gay men are happiest in those welcoming locations, according to a new survey of 115,000 gay men around the world.
The Post reports Planet Romeo, an Amsterdam-based dating and community site and app, collaborated with Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz in Germany to carry out the online poll. Researchers combined rankings on public opinion, public behavior and life satisfaction — specifically, how gay men feel about society’s view on homosexuality, how gay men feel they are treated by other people, and how satisfied gay men are with their own lives, respectively — into one worldwide ranking, which they call The Gay Happiness Index.
Coming in at number one in all the world as the country where gay men are the happiest is Iceland, followed by Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Uruguay, Canada, Israel, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Luxembourg (where the country's out prime minister earlier this month became the first national leader in a legal same-sex marriage).
The United States ranks 26th on the list. The map below shows the highest-ranked countries appearing in green, with the lowest-ranked countries in red.
The 10 countries where gay men are the least happy, according to this ranking, are Kazakhstan, Ghana, Cameroon, Iran, Nigeria, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Ethiopia, Sudan, and Uganda.
In the top 20 happiest countries, 37 percent of respondents were currently in a committed relationship with another man, while 3 percent were in a relationship with a woman. In the 20 least happy countries, only 22 percent were in a committed relationship with a man, and 5 percent were in a relationship with a woman.
Researchers say 56 percent of respondents in the 20 "worst" countries were also a lot more likely to say their parents were not accepting of their sexual orientation, compared with 20 percent who said the same of their parents in the 20 “best” countries.
While many societies are growing more accepting of homosexuality, gay men in some countries report that things actually have grown worse in the past few years. Uganda, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan, Nigeria and Ethiopia top this list, although the Post reports Russia, Turkey, and Hungary have also seen a negative trend in the index.
Read the entire survey here.