Attitudes toward homosexuality vary a lot around the world. LGBT people are still officially considered criminals in roughly one-third of countries worldwide, and homosexuality is punishable by death in seven countries. But other places, such as northern Europe, are very accepting of homosexuality.
Unsurprisingly, a new survey shows that gay men are happiest in those welcoming locations. Planet Romeo, an Amsterdam-based community site, collaborated with the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz in Germany to carry out an online survey of 115,000 gay men around the world. They combined rankings on public opinion, public behavior and life satisfaction – 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 on gay happiness.
Iceland tops their list as the country where gay men are the happiest, followed by Norway, Denmark, Sweden, Uruguay, Canada, Israel, Netherlands, Switzerland and Luxembourg. The United States ranks 26th in the list. The 10 worst countries by this ranking are Kazakhstan, Ghana, Cameroon, Iran, Nigeria, Iraq, Kyrgyzstan, Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda. The map above shows that ranking, with the highest ranked countries appearing in green and the lowest ranked countries in red.
Unsurprisingly, men living in the top 20 best countries in the happiness index showed a lot more self-acceptance of being gay, while those in the bottom countries showed less. In the top 20 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 worst countries, only 22 percent were in a committed relationship with a man, and 5 percent were in a relationship with a woman. Those in the 20 worst countries were also a lot more likely to say their parents were were not accepting of their sexual orientation. 56 percent of respondents in the 20 worst countries said this, compared with 20 percent in the 20 best countries.
Though many societies are growing more accepting of homosexuality, gay men in some countries report that things have gotten worse in the past few years. Uganda, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan, Nigeria and Ethiopia top this list, though Russia, Turkey and Hungary have also seen a negative trend in the index.