Top LGBTQ-Friendly Study Abroad Destinations

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8 Most LGBTQ-Friendly Study Abroad Destinations

There are fewer countries in the world which have adopted an open mindset towards bringing equal rights for the LGBTQ community. The queer community has surely come a long way with their struggle for social acceptance as well as educational and employment opportunities. On a global level, there is hope indeed as many nations are working towards creating safer spaces for the LGBTQ community. For such individuals planning to study abroad, there are many incredible study destinations to explore especially in terms of the gender-inclusiveness that have consistently worked towards. This pride month, we have collated a comprehensive list of best LGBTQ-friendly study abroad destinations you must know about.

Canada

Canada
Courtesy: The Canadian Encyclopedia

With a multicultural environment and beaming cosmopolitans, Canada has always been incredibly welcoming towards individuals of different beliefs, cultures, religions and ways of life. It is one of the top LGBTQ-friendly study abroad destinations with renowned universities ensuring a gender-inclusive learning environment for everyone. It passed the anti-discrimination law for LGBT individuals back in the 90s before other nations were still pondering over the rights of the queer community and Canada also legalized same-sex marriage in 2003. Along with providing a safe environment for international queer students, the country hosts many LGBTQ-themed festivals around the year with the biggest one hosted by Toronto as a 10-day pride festival. Take a look at the top LGBTQ-friendly universities in Canada which you can explore:

Spain

Madrid, Spain
Madrid, Spain
Courtesy: Dopes on the Road

Being the third country to legalize same-sex marriage in 2005, Spain has also established itself as a gender-inclusive destination and has contributed immensely towards the upliftment of the global LGBTQ community. Having a difficult history as the country was dominated by the dictator Francisco Franco, Spain freed itself from dictatorship in 1975 with the determination to nurture an equal, secular and tolerant society. The country’s biggest cities like Madrid and Barcelona are home to many gayborhoods and Spanish educational institutions have also strived to lend their colossal support to the global LGBTQ community by providing them with equal educational opportunities to explore. Having established itself as one of the choicest LGBTQ-friendly study abroad destinations, Spain is home to many world-renowned universities which are progressive and concerned towards providing a gender-inclusive and welcoming environment for queer students across the globe. Some of the popular LGBTQ-friendly universities in Spain are:

Denmark

Known as the second happiest country in the world, Denmark was also the first one to form the National Association for Gays and Lesbians in 1984. Regarded amongst the best LGBTQ-friendly study abroad destination in Europe, the Danish capital Copenhagen organises a fascinating pride festival along with an LGBT Film festival known as MIX Copenhagen every year.

Copenhagen Pride Parade 2019
Copenhagen Pride Parade 2019
Courtesy: Hellotravel

In the year 2012, the country’s supreme court gave its nod for the law on same-sex marriage and adoption and marriage rights have also been provided to the gay couples in the country. Home to many top-notch academic institutions offering a gender-inclusive environment for students around the world, the country is rapidly emerging as a preferred destination for those planning to pursue higher education abroad. Here are the major LGBTQ-friendly universities in Denmark:

The Netherlands

Amsterdam Canal Pride Parade
Amsterdam Canal Pride Parade
Courtesy: NBC News

Also known as Holland and colloquially referred to as the Kingdom of Netherlands, our list of LGBTQ-friendly study abroad destinations would be incomplete without mentioning the first nation to legalize same-sex marriage in 2001. Considered as the most accepting nations for the global queer community, the Netherlands have formulated a separate constitution for the rights of the LGBTQ community. Its progressive academic institutions offer a safe and secure learning environment and many vibrant pride festivals for international students to discover! Here are the top LGBTQ-friendly universities in the Netherlands.

Germany

Germany
Courtesy: Couple of Men

The history of Germany becoming a queer-friendly country can be traced back to the 1800s when the noted gay activist Karl Heinrich Ulrichs gave a powerful speech advocating LGBTQ rights. The country’s openly LGBT subculture known as the Weimar Republic Berlin has been celebrated through consistent visual representations in the German cinema. Further, at the beginning of the 21st century, “Life Partnership Law” was introduced in the country facilitating same-sex partners to avail health insurance benefits. The country has progressed towards LGBTQ inclusivism especially through its academic institutions offering plentiful LGBTQ resources and an open and welcoming study spaces for queer students. Some of the renowned LGBTQ-friendly universities in Germany are:

Sweden

As the first country to legally allow gender change in the year 1972, Sweden is another major LGBTQ-friendly study abroad destination you must know about. In the year 1987, the country banned discrimination against sexual orientation and by 2003, the enactment of adoption rights for same-sex couples was brought which was followed by the gender-neutral marriage law.

Stockholm Pride Parade 2019
Stockholm Pride Parade 2019
Courtesy: Sweden.se, Twitter

Home to teeming metropolises like Stockholm, Uppsala, etc. the country’s academic institutions have also worked towards establishing a better learning and educational environment for queer students. The famous Stockholm Pride Parade witnesses the global queer community coming together every year and there also many flourishing LGBTQ student association in Sweden like the RFSL Ungdom. Check out the best gender-inclusive universities for queer students in Sweden:

Iceland

Reykjavik Pride Parade
Reykjavik Pride Parade
Courtesy: Iceland Monitor

Iceland is also one of the popular liberal countries supporting the queer community’s equal rights. Since 2006, Iceland provided same-sex couples with the right to adoption and IVF. The country’s capital city Reykjavik is home to many gender-inclusive academic institutions as well as a happening queer community with gay bars, bookstores etc. The country’s major universities have facilitated equal educational opportunities for queer students across the globe and offer a safer environment to study, socialise and get the best quality education. Here are the major LGBTQ-supportive universities in Iceland.

  • University of Iceland 
  • Reykjavik University
  • Iceland University of the Arts
  • Hólar University College
  • Bifröst University

Uruguay

Montevideo, Uruguay
Montevideo, Uruguay’s Capital City
Courtesy: World Bank Group

As the second Latin American country to decriminalise homosexuality in the year 1934, this tiny nation has been at the forefront of LGBTQ acceptance since decades back. Frederiksberg, Vesterbro, City Center are some of the choicest educational hubs with a blossoming and welcoming LGBTQ culture. The universities and colleges in Uruguay have played a greater role in educating the public about the global LGBTQ rights and their struggle towards social acceptance. Amongst the top LGBTQ-friendly study abroad countries, here are the best universities to explore in Uruguay:

  • University of the Republic
  • University of Montevideo
  • Catholic University of Uruguay
  • ORT Uruguay University
  • Autonomous University of the South

Thus, with more and more countries striving to provide a safer learning environment for the queer community, the dream of a rainbow world with equal rights is not far ahead to be actualised. We hope that this blog has helped you explore the best LGBTQ-friendly study abroad destinations in the world. Confused about finding the right country and university to pursue your dream course from? Our Leverage Edu experts are here to guide you in finding a suitable university and helping you throughout the admission process to ensure that you get successfully shortlisted!

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