If you identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), you may want to consider a move to the nordic regions of the world.
Gay dating network PlanetRomeo released an insightful survey this week that ranks the happiness levels of gay men in different countries around the world. Called the Gay Happiness Index, this year’s survey saw Iceland top the list with Uganda, expectedly, falling to the bottom.
The index results stemmed from a survey of 115,000 gay men from 127 countries based on three general criteria of day-to-day life: public opinion, public behavior and life satisfaction. Following Iceland and rounding out the top four are three other Nordic countries: Norway, Denmark and Sweden.
The UK came in at the 23rd spot, and the U.S. at 26.
Because the Gay Happiness Index just focuses on gay men, the results don’t specifically deal with things like sexism, transphobia or other issues affecting the LGBT community.
“Things seem to improve in North and South America as well as in South-East Asia,” PlanetRomeo notes in the survey results. “That’s great news! Europe shows a huge diversity, from ‘gay heaven’ (Scandinavia) in the Northwest to ‘gay drama’ (Balkans) in the Southeasterly direction. Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East are depressing, but no big surprise there. In general, the number of countries where the situation is getting worse is painfully shocking to us.”
PlanetRomeo also noted that Uganda, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan, Nigeria and Ethiopia marked the five countries with the most negative changes over the last year. These five are also “known for having a negative view towards basic human freedoms in society,” the gay dating network explained.
Nordic countries have tended to rank highly on surveys like the Gay Happiness Index in the past, with Norway taking the top spot in a survey from the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans & Intersex Association (ILGA) last year. In fact, in 2012 only ten countries in the world allowed same-sex couples to adopt children — with three of them being Nordic.
PlanetRomeo is a gay owned and operated global gay community for sex, friends and love. It’s made up of millions of gays, bisexuals and transgenders from all walks of life: young and old, rich and poor, from out of the closet to keeping it a secret.
As gay men based in Amsterdam, we are happy and lucky to enjoy a large amount of freedom today. We can appreciate this freedom because of the previous generations who fought for equality in the past. At the same time, we are aware that in more than one third of all countries worldwide LGBT people still are considered criminals officially, and punishable by death in seven.
Men from all over the globe, who need to share their stories of the injustices that they suffer, contact us regularly. Often they ask for our help. But what are we to do?
“I was bullied in my school days in such a bad way that even though it has been seven years, I still have those wounds. I am still hurt, I wish I could take the discrimination away. People around me commit suicide. Are we not human beings? It’s weird how the people running the country are homophobic”
(Akshat, 24, India)
“A few months ago I was attacked for being gay. The attackers wanted to kill me for being gay and for wanting to pollute the culture. I managed to escape and now stay in Botswana but with challenges as the country also does not welcome gays. I write to inquire if your office can help me get to safety and peace.”
“I always thought that the world is a beautiful place for everyone without any exceptions. I realized very fast that my point of view was totally bad. I’m not open to people anymore. I hate to smile. I don’t want to meet my friends from high school anymore ”
(Chris, 28, Poland)
350 million LGBTs but no one knows how they feel
There are 7 billion people on the planet and assuming that 5% of them are LGBTs, then there are about 350 million LGBTs in the world – a lot of people. That’s more than the entire population of the United States. Plenty of news is written about us, but nobody knows what’s really going on. Most of the available data refers to us in an abstract legal way and not on the level of the happiness of individuals. Worldwide comparable data about how life is, from the point of view of the gay citizen, is nowhere to be found.
115,000 gay men told us
Because of the Internet, online gay communities like PlanetRomeo are able to offer support for gay men that they may not be able to get anywhere else. Being at the heart of 1.8 million men globally, we have access to both the audience and resources to do this research for the very first time. Incredibly, more than 115,000 gay men from all over the world participated in the survey. A great result and our special thanks go out to them! We initiated the research and collaborated with the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz (JGUM), Germany who designed a qualified scientific questionnaire and executed the survey.
Introducing the Gay Happiness Index (GHI)
We combined three main topics to generate one worldwide ranking on gay happiness:
How do gay men feel about society’s view on homosexuality?
How do gay men experience the way they are treated by other people?
How satisfied are gay men with their lives and do they accept themselves?
within the last year
|Scores from 1 to 100|
|United Arab Emirates||85||37||9||51||51||260|
Detailed Heat Maps based on Geo Data
We know that even within a country the situation varies; the living circumstances of gay men residing in the city is often quite different from those living in the countryside. Thanks to modern technology, we can ask participants for their geo-location data. Therefore we can show you the results in even more detail than ever before.
The Data is Free
We are a private commercial company. We are not scientists and do not see ourselves in a position to make the final analysis on our own. We have made the extended version of the GHI data publically available for everyone in order to draw further conclusions.
The survey was provided in 25 languages and targeted at all users of the PlanetRomeo platform (about 1.8 million). These users are all 18 years or older and mainly gay or bisexual. Privacy is guaranteed by means of an anonymous questionnaire, strongly blurred geo positions and a presentation of data on an aggregated level only. For more information on used methods please read the full report.
Fundamental human rights for LGBTs and their happiness is an ongoing fight. We will absolutely keep our finger on the pulse and plan to repeat the survey in the future.
PlanetRomeo’s Point of View
Things seem to improve in North and South America as well as in South-East Asia. That’s great news! Europe shows a huge diversity, from ‘gay heaven’ (Scandinavia) in the Northwest to ‘gay drama’ (Balkans) in the Southeasterly direction. Africa, Central Asia and the Middle East are depressing, but no big surprise there. In general, the number of countries where the situation is getting worse is painfully shocking to us.
Our Romeos advised us to use international pressure and not to pamper homophobic political leaders. So, let’s be blunt!
Modern medicine and psychiatry already agreed that homosexuality is not a disease decades ago. However, it still seems that the freedom to be gay is not just a question of education and time. We are quite sure it has to do with politics. The GHI ranking correlates with the scale of democratic societies and freedom to autocratic countries and human rights violations.
Political and religious leaders from all over the world claim to defend ‘traditional’ family values. They accuse us of being deviant, immoral and having a negative effect on society. As an example, religious ‘leaders’ from Liberia and the USA blame us of causing Ebola and earthquakes. They put the blame on the ‘decadent West’ for importing queer values into their culture in order to undermine and destroy their countries.
When looking at the 5 countries with the most negative change we see Uganda, Kyrgyzstan, Sudan , Nigeria and Ethiopia at the top of the list. All of these countries are known for having a negative view towards basic human freedoms in society. Even in European countries like Russia, Turkey and Hungary we see the same negative developments.
But do the responsible leaders of these countries really care about the subject of homosexuality? Or do they use it to divert attention from the real problems their country face? History shows tyrants will do anything to stay in power. It is always easy to pick a vulnerable minority group and use them as a scapegoat. It’s a known cheap trick in order to gain popularity within a terrified and uneducated society in which they nurture these homophobic beliefs.
In our opinion, the GHI is not only about the happiness of gay men, it can also be seen as a powerful indicator for the general development of freedom, justice and security in a country. We hope the world sees these leaders for what they truly are.
Those who propagate hatred towards minorities attack all human values. Their actions are not a sign of their own superior morality, but rather the desperate behavior of an autocrat, hungry for popularity. In practice, they deny us fundamental human rights, force millions of us in the ‘unhappy closet’, beat us, throw us in prison and murder us.
PlanetRomeo, May 2015