Best emigration locations for LGBT expats

Published:  20 Sep at 6 PM
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For would-be LGBT expats, finding the right country can be tricky, with certain destinations welcoming and tolerant and others the exact opposite.

As a general rule, countries in Europe and North America are more tolerant and welcoming to LGBT expats than others where rights for this specific minority may be few or non-existent. Starting with the Netherlands, the first world state to legalise same-sex marriages, the countries below all make for a successful stay as an expat, whether you’re arriving alone or with your partner.

The Netherlands has always been famous for its progressive mindset and is, as a result, one of the planet’s least homophobic destinations. Its capital, Amsterdam, is perennially popular with gay couples as well as singles, and living here is refreshingly trouble-free. It’s worth noting that, since 2012, Dutch schools are now giving sexual orientation and sexuality courses aimed at increasing tolerance towards the LGBT community.

The UK has a reasonable attitude to LGBT rights, at least in law, although residents in tiny towns in the far reaches of the kingdom might be slightly backward in coming forward! Generally, Brits are happy to eliminate discrimination against those whose sexuality is alternative, to the amazing extent that the first Muslim gay marriage in the UK took place without incident. Also, it’s illegal to refuse everything from accommodation and goods or services as well as employment to LGBT people.

Belgium’s attitude towards gay rights is traditionally liberal, with same-sex marriage legalised as early as 2003. Belgians are tolerant and open-minded, and any discrimination is illegal. Brussels hosts a vibrant gay district with cool restaurants and bars, as well as regular monthly and weekly events. France is a great place for LGBT expats, with the vibrant French nightlife welcoming and fun. There’s a dynamic LGBT community, ensuring you’ll never feel lonely.

Sweden is a modern model for gender rights, with same-sex and religious marriage legalised in 2009. Stockholm’s annual Pride march attracts 45,000 participants and over 400,000 spectators, and is part of the city’s life. Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees equal rights for the country’s LGBT community, and same-sex marriage is fully legal.

Montreal is famed for its active gay neighbourhood with its major LGBT events and festivals. Other countries which are proud to be LGBT-friendly include Denmark, Norway, Iceland and New Zealand, giving would-be LGBT expats a great choice of places to begin their new lives.
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