A recently published study called the 'LGBTQ Travel Safety Index' conducted by journalists, Asher & Lyric Fergusson, shows that Malta has established itself as one of the most LGBTQ+ travel-friendly countries in the world.
The in-depth study considered nine key factors when creating the index:
● Legalised same-sex marriages
● Worker protections
● Discrimination protections
● Criminalisation of violence
● Adoption recognitions
● Gallup Poll: Is it a good place to live for gay and lesbian people?
● Transgender legal identity laws
● Illegal same-sex relationships
● Morality laws
Based on these parameters, for which Malta scored highly in every category, the research determined Malta to be the fourth-best country for the LGBTQ+ community to consider when making travel plans, behind only Canada, Netherlands, and Sweden.
When surveyed by Gallup, the locals of Malta overwhelmingly found the country to be a “good place to live” for gay and lesbian couples, with 85% who participated in the 2019 survey, providing a positive response. This is a significant increase from the same survey conducted in 2017 when 80% of Maltese residents responded positively, indicating that Malta is continuing to trend in the right direction for LGBTQ+ travelers.
Malta has also been one of the countries setting the bar for increased transgender rights. In 2014, Malta was the first country in Europe to add gender identity as a protected category in its constitution. In many countries it’s prohibited to change one’s officially recognised identity, in Malta, all one needs to do is file an affidavit with a notary, making it easy for each individual to be recognised by the state as the gender they feel most comfortable with.
Although Malta has had some incidents of LGBTQ discrimination, travelers can visit knowing they can largely move about safely without being shy in expressing themselves, regardless of their lifestyle. The country is one of the few that has not had a single trans murder in the past 12 years. Even top countries Canada, Netherlands, and Sweden cannot say the same. On the research studies trans-friendly scale of +50 to -50, Malta scored the best possible score of +50.
This air of acceptance is not only apparent in the growing legislation that has been passed in recent years, but also by the overwhelming attitude of graciousness and acceptance shown by the citizens of Malta. LGBTQ travelers can expect locals to eagerly offer guidance in discovering all that the country has to offer from advice on the most beautiful locations and explore the best restaurants, cafes, and nightclubs.
One interesting thing to note is that a whopping 67% of countries where same-sex relationships are illegal in 2021 were former British colonies. Malta decriminalised the British sodomy law in 1973 and legalised same-sex marriage in 2017. This shows that even if a country has laws left from the British era, it is possible to change the laws and overcome past attitudes that may have been engrained in the culture.
In a world where some countries still punish homosexual acts with the death penalty, it’s reassuring to have countries like Malta, on the other end of the spectrum, leading the way in removing hate from our society and providing safe places for people of all walks of life to visit.
Original Article published in Malta Today