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15 Best Countries for LGBTQ Expats

A number of LGBTQ advocates threatened to leave the US should Donald Trump be elected. That said, here's a list of LGBTQ-friendly countries for expats.

by Brooke Sopelsa and Noel Gutierrez-Morfin /
The Auckland, New Zealand skylineAlex Livesey / FIFA via Getty Images

Prior to this week’s stunning presidential election results, a number of LGBTQ advocates and celebrities threatened to leave the U.S. should Donald Trump be elected. Now that the real estate mogul and reality TV star is America’s president-elect, NBC OUT has compiled a handy list of LGBTQ-friendly countries for U.S. expatriates.

Argentina

 Buenos Aires, Argentina on September 24, 2016. Maciej Luczniewski / NurPhoto via Getty Images

Argentina legalized same-sex marriage back in 2010, becoming the first country in Latin America to do so. It’s also the home to more than 30 national parks, the beautiful city of Buenos Aires and tango.

Belgium

 The skyline of central Brussels, Belgium. Jeff Overs / BBC News & Current Affairs via Getty Images

In 2003, Belgium became the second country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. It ranked #4 on Gallup’s 2015 list of “Top Places for Gay People to Live," #23 on HSBC’s ranking of best countries for expats and is known for its delicious cuisine.

Canada

 The city skyline and Coal Harbour is viewed in this photo taken from Stanley Park on June 30, 2016, in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. George Rose / Getty Images

America’s northern neighbor legalized same-sex marriage back in 2005, and the country’s new prime minister is openly LGBTQ-friendly. Canada is also home to Vancouver and Toronto, two of the world’s best cities for expats, according to a recent report.

Denmark

 Copenhagen skyline. Robert B. Fishman / ullstein bild via Getty Images

Denmark was the first country in the world to recognize same-sex partnerships back in 1989, and the Scandinavian country officially legalized same-sex marriage in 2012. Gallup ranked Denmark among the “Top Places for Gay People to Live” in the world, and Copenhagen, its capital, was listed among the top cities for expats.

France

 The Eiffel Tower stands above the city skyline as the sun sets over skyscrapers in La Defense business district in Paris, France, on Nov. 10, 2015. Christophe Morin / Bloomberg via Getty Images

France was ranked #21 on HSBC's list of best countries for expats, but Paris in particular boasts an incredibly active LGBTQ community, particularly when it comes to nightlife in Le Marais. France legalized same-sex marriage in 2013 and was the first country in the world to de-list transgender identification as a mental illness.

Iceland

 Residential properties stand on the city skyline in Reykjavik, Iceland, on April 7, 2016. Arnaldur Halldorsson / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Iceland, which legalized same-sex marriage back in 2010, was recently ranked as the happiest country for gay men. The Nordic island nation was also the first country in the world with an openly gay head of government -- Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, who served as prime minister from 2009-2013.

Ireland

 A view of the skyline in the Northern part of Dublin, Ireland, on April 19, 2015. Artur Widak / NurPhoto via Getty Images

In 2015, Ireland became the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage by popular vote, and it also has stringent protections against LGBTQ discrimination. It's listed among Gallup's best countries for gays and lesbians, and Condé Nast Traveler included Dublin on its list of "Best Cities in the World."

Luxembourg

 The Kirchberg district in Luxembourg City, Luxembourg. Ulrich Baumgarten / Getty Images

Luxembourg legalized same-sex marriage in 2014, and its prime minister, Xavier Bettel, became the first European leader to marry a same-sex partner while in office. The small European nation also a great place for wine aficionados, as it is known for its white and sparkling wines.

New Zealand

 The Auckland, New Zealand skyline on May 28, 2015 Alex Livesey / FIFA via Getty Images

New Zealand is currently considered the second best country in the world for expats, according to HSBC, and same-sex marriage and adoption by same-sex parents were both legalized in 2013. The island nation, located in the southwest Pacific Ocean, is also known for its beautiful cities and landscape.

The Netherlands

 Cityscape of Amsterdam. JTB Photo / UIG via Getty Images

The Netherlands is considered the most gay-friendly country in the world, according to Gallup, and it was also the first country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage in 2000. Amsterdam, its capital, is a popular destination for LGBTQ tourists and was ranked among the best cities in the world for expats.

Norway

 View of Oslo, Norway and Oslo Port. JTB Photo / UIG via Getty Images

Norway legalized same-sex marriage in 2009, became the first country to enact anti-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation in 1981 and is ranked #6 on HSBC's best countries for expats. LGBTQ culture is also very visible in the Scandinavian country -- Pride in Oslo is one of Norway's largest events, and the city is also home to one of the world's best gay choirs.

South Africa

 Aerial view of Johannesburg, South Africa Dean Hutton / Bloomberg via Getty Images

In 2006, South Africa became the first country in Africa to legalize same-sex marriage -- and there has yet to be a second. Johannesburg, its largest city, is also the country's gay epicenter: It's home to the annual Jo'Burg Pride event, the Out in Africa International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival and most of the annual Mr. Gay South Africa competitions.

Spain

 View of Barcelona, Spain. Jose Fuste Raga / JTB Photo/UIG via Getty Images

Nearly 90 percent of Spain's citizens believe lesbian and gay people should be accepted, according to Pew Research Center, and Gallup has Spain tied with the Netherlands as the number one country for gay people. Spain was also one of the first countries to legalize same-sex marriage back in 2005. LGBTQ culture has influenced much of Spain's art, whether through the writing of Federico García Lorca or the films of Pedro Almodóvar. Barcelona has also been named as one of the friendliest cities for LGBTQ people by UCityGuides.

Sweden

 Stockholm, Sweden, on Monday, Oct. 19, 2015. Johan Jeppsson / Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sweden comes in at #8 on both Gallup's list of "Top Places for Gay People to Live" and HSBC's list of best countries for expats. Same-sex marriage has been legal in the Scandinavian country since 2009, and anti-LGBTQ discrimination has been banned since the 80s.

Uruguay

 Montevideo, Uruguay. Bettmann Archive

Uruguay is one of South America's most LGBTQ-friendly countries, and it is ranked among Gallup's best countries in the world for gays and lesbians. It has also been a leader in enacting laws expanding transgender rights, including one passed in 2009 that allows trans people to change official documents to match their gender identity.

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