Spartacus International Gay Guide has published its latest Gay Travel Index. The travel guide for the gay community, being published for over 40 years, has provided information on the legal situation of gays and lesbians on a total of 128 countries fpr many years. The editorial staff are in regular contact with German Foreign Office, foreign embassies in Germany and LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) activists from all over the world.

15 categories evaluated

“The new Gay Travel Index now measures i.a. religious influence on governments, the ban on Pride Parades and targeted marketing activities for gay and lesbian tourists. It also monitors the latest legislation for homosexuals, e.g. laws enabling gay marriage and rights to adopt or entry restrictions for HIV-positives,” explains editor-in-chief Briand Bedford. The index comprises 15 categories, in each positive or negative points can be given. The maximum total number of points is 9.

Sweden is number one

Sweden is at the top with a total score of 9 points. Exemplary legislation on anti-discrimination, homosexuality and adoption make Sweden the most homophile destination. Belgium and the Netherlands share second rank scoring 8 points each, Iceland and Canada on third rank with 7 points each.

Iran is on last rank

Iran is at the bottom of the Gay Travel Index with -14 points. Prohibition of homosexuality by law, death penalty for homosexuals, murders of gays and an extremely high religious influence make visiting the country a danger to life and limb. United Arab Emirates, Jamaica, Nigeria, Jordan, Russia, Egypt and Malaysia are also among the worst-rated travel destinations for homosexuals.

Special case USA

Due to the different legislation of individual US states, the Gay Travel Index is compiled individually for each of the 50 states. New York and Massachusetts are ahead of Vermont, New Hampshire and Connecticut thanks to their targeted advertising for gay and lesbian visitors. The states of Alabama and North Carolina are at the bottom of the ranking.

Climber of the year: New York City, loser: Hungary

Thanks to the legalisation of homosexual marriage, the US state of New York was one of last year’s climbers and thus able to join first rank among the most homophile US states. One of the losers is Hungary. A constitutional amendment in 2011 stipulated that marriage is to be defined exclusively as a relationship between men and women. Minority rights, a clear definition of freedom of the press and measures against anti-discrimination are absent. Under observation are India, California, Turkey. “Current discussions about the legalisation of homosexual marriage in California or the call for a ban on homosexuality in Indian parliament make it necessary to keep a close eye on certain countries and regions,” says SPARTACUS’s editor-in-chief Bedford. “India in particular shows that legislation, religion and public opinion are out of synch sometimes. Turkey, which is a candidate for EU membership does not have any laws against the discrimination of or for the equality of homosexuals. They can thus even be prosecuted. Pride parades can easily be banned. This must not go unnoticed.”

Increasing market: gay travel

A conservative estimate based on a five percent share of homosexuals in the population would correspond to a share of at least 1.1 billion euros in the travel industry’s turnover in the 2011/12 season. Community Marketing, a San Francisco-based company, estimates that around 50 billion dollars are be spent in the US alone. German tour operator DERTour presented its own 100-page catalogue entitled “Gay Travel” at the beginning of this year. International Gay & Lesbian Travel Association IGLTA, DERTour, Spartacus International Gay Guide, tourism boards of Brazil and Argentina and more were all present at this year’s ITB travel fair in Berlin, “Gay and lesbian travel”, hall 2.1.

The complete Gay Travel Index table can be seen here

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