The ILGA-Europe Rainbow index has awarded Malta the top position for the last three years. Its gay-friendliness is measured at an impressive 91%. Belgium, Norway and the UK also find themselves in the upper reaches of the index. Turkey and Azerbaijan linger at the bottom.
Malta is a culturally conservative Catholic country. Indeed, divorce was banned until 2011, so how has Malta emerged as a champion of LGBT+ rights? Shifting social attitudes help, but much of Malta’s progress is down to the policies of its recent government.
They have introduced extensive equality legislation making Malta, in legal terms, the envy of the progressive world. Malta’s government has banned so-called gay conversion therapy, emerged as the first country to give proper legal protection to intersex people, as well as being one of the only countries that doesn’t consider transgenderism to be a mental illness.
Malta’s parliament voted 66-1 in favour of legalising gay marriage in 2017. That means only one MP voted against it. Talk about a lone voice in the dark!
Malta’s Prime Minister Joseph Muscat said that gay marriage must be legalised as having separate laws for gay people would be “discriminatory”.
As one of the most romantic destinations in Europe, Malta is as good a choice as any for your big gay wedding.
The Rainbow Index demonstrates that gay rights are under threat in many countries. Turkey and Russia have both been singled out. There have even been reports of anti-gay pogroms in Chechnya.
The rise of far-right populist parties in Europe and the election of you-know-who in America did not bode well for gay people. Italy’s recently elected prime minister has insisted that real families are heterosexual and gay parents are “unnatural.”
Even in wealthy, liberal countries like the UK, awkward debates surrounding same-sex dance partners on TV have filled many newspaper columns. It’s almost as if the advance of gay-rights is accepted begrudgingly, if it is accepted at all.
Malta’s recent progress goes to show that things can change for the better, and they can do so quickly.
Tourism plays a key role in Malta’s economy, and pink pounds and divine dollars are already flowing in. Malta was even a key sponsor of Brighton Pride 2018, Europe’s biggest Pride event – which featured a somewhat intriguing performance by Britney Spears. TropOut also hosted its annual gay beach party in Malta this year.
It’s official: Malta is one of the best destinations on the map for gay travellers.
12-Sep-2018 by Alex | More: Gay Malta