South Africa has again made it into the world’s top 30 safest queer travel destinations, as rated by the 2022 LGBTQ+ Travel Safety Index.
The top five safest-nations include Canada in the first place, followed by Sweden, Netherlands, Malta, and Portugal. South Africa has stayed in the same spot as last year, 21st place, but still lower compared to 2019, where it was ranked in 15th place.
The next safest African countries are Angola at number 37, Cabo Verde (62), Botswana (73), and Mozambique (77).
This year, Nigeria is no longer the worst LGBTQ+ travel destination on the globe, with the Southeast Asian country of Brunei coming in at the bottom of the ranking.
That’s not much to celebrate, however, as Nigeria only moved one spot to now being the second-worst nation in the world for LGBTQ+ travellers.
The index was recently updated by American researchers and couple, Asher and Lyric Fergusson after they spent more than 350 hours on research. Their latest ranking of 203 countries is compiled by reviewing laws and data from trusted international sources.
The Fergussons looked at ten ranking factors for every country, each pertaining to the health and wellbeing of LGBTQ+ individuals.
These factors are marriage equality; LGBTQ+ worker protections; discrimination protection; criminalisation of hate crimes; adoption recognition; is it a good place to live?; the legality of same-sex relationships, propaganda/morality laws, and transgender identity laws.
To make the study more comprehensive than the 2021 update, the researchers this year added 53 countries and an extra study metric: transgender murder rates per million population.
While the index may be useful for international travellers to South Africa, it’s not clear to what extent the Fergussons considered the more hostile environment faced by the country’s citizens in their ranking. Last year alone at least 24 LGBTQ+ individuals were murdered in South Africa.
You can see the full 2022 LGBTQ+ Travel Safety Index here.