Ireland ranks 17th most LGBTQ+ friendly travel destination in the world

Malta, Canada, and Switzerland were at the top of the list, based on factors like marriage equality and anti-discrimination laws.

Woman in a crowd wearing sunglasses and carrying Pride flag representing Spartacus Gay Travel guide.
Image: Twitter @thatprideguy

Ireland has been identified as the 17th most LGBTQ+ friendly travel destination in the world by Spartacus Gay Travel Index. Since 2012, the group has ranked 203 countries and regions based on their safety and friendliness toward queer tourists, with the 2023 report having recently been published.

It assesses the laws and living conditions for LGBTQ+ people in each country based on 17 components ranging from marriage equality to laws that criminalise homosexuality. Points are awarded for positive categories like anti-discrimination legislation, transgender rights, and intersex gender recognition, and deducted for negative factors like religious influence, HIV travel restrictions, and Pride bans.

Since 2012, Ireland has gradually moved up the list in its ranking to become the 17th most LGBTQ+ friendly travel destination. The nation scored a total of 8 points, tying it with Belgium, France, Greenland, Norway, Réunion and Sweden. It received positive marks for transgender rights, adoption, marriage, and anti-discrimination legislation, and negative marks for intersex and non-binary recognition and conversion therapy.

Malta won the first-place spot for the first time, largely based on their recognition of gender identities. This ranking couldn’t come at a better time for the nation as it prepares to host EuroPride in September of this year.

Switzerland made the biggest move in 2023, jumping from seven to 12 points and tying with Canada for second place. Germany improved its ranking by one point, and now shares the ninth-place position with Iceland, Spain, and the United Kingdom.

Human rights violations correlate to negative points, and five points are deducted from any country that still enforces the death penalty. According to the index, the most dangerous countries for LGBTQ+ people to travel to in 2023 include Saudi Arabia, Iran, Somalia, and Afghanistan.

While the United States ranks 35th overall, LGBTQ+ laws vary significantly among the 50 states, so the Spartacus team created specific categories to emphasise the different laws between individual states.


With anti-trans bills and transphobic hate speech intensifying in many states across the country, the rubric focuses on state-specific laws that include things like hate crime laws and gay and trans panic defence bans to differentiate safety levels between locations.

Spartacus explains, “What began with anti-trans laws and campaigns culminated in tough censorship in the post-Trump era: In schools in more and more (Republican-governed) states in particular, it is forbidden to teach or even talk about sexual orientation or gender identity. We have therefore added the censorship rating category.”

California, Colorado, New York, and Washington all share the first place spot within the US, while Tennessee – the first US state to legally ban drag shows – holds the second to last place next to Oklahoma.

© 2023 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.

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