Every country in Europe was ranked for LGBTQ+ rights – and the UK has plummeted

The UK continues to see its position plummet on ILGA-Europe’s annual Rainbow Map ranking how LGBTQ-friendly European countries are.

The Rainbow Map and Index is released yearly by ILGA-Europe, which has ranked all 49 European nations on their “legal and policy situation” for LGBTQ+ rights since 2009.  

Less than a decade ago, in 2015, the UK was ranked the best place in Europe for LGBTQ+ rights, with a 86 per cent rating, but its 2024 ranking has seen it drop to sixteenth place, with an overall rating of just 51.87 per cent. 

The UK was rated lowest (16.67 per cent) in the category of asylum and highest (100 per cent) in the category of civil society space. 

The IGLA-Europe Rainbow Map 2024. (IGLA-Europe)
The IGLA-Europe Rainbow Map 2024. (IGLA-Europe)

Under the category of asylum, ILGA-Europe flagged comments made by former home secretary Suella Braverman, who said last year that asylum seekers “pretend to be gay” to receive asylum status and that facing discrimination because of being a woman or LGBTQ+ person is no grounds to seek protection.

The UK’s lower rating comes amid a delay on banning of so-called ‘conversion practices’, the government’s trans guidance for schools having the potential for forcibly out trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming student to their parents and the NHS announcing that trans women will be banned from female wards in England.

In comparison, Malta was rated the best place for LGBTQ+ rights this year, with an impressive 87.83 per cent score thanks to the country achieving a 100 per cent rating across hate crime and hate speech and civil society space. 

Unsurprisingly, Russia scored lowest with a two per cent rating, putting it in last place of all 49 countries. 

In 2023, the UK ranked 17th with a score of 53.37 per cent – two percentage points more than this year’s score.

The UK’s Rainbow Map rating has dropped since 2016, amid an increasingly hostile environment for LGBTQ+ people under the Conservative government.

Trans journalist India Willoughby said of the UK’s rating: “I think they have been very generous with the scoring. The UK is increasingly hostile to all of LGBT+ – particularly trans, who they’re trying to wipe out.”