Southeast Asia LGBTQ+ Safety

Picture Ladyboys in Pattaya, Thailand credit John Shedrick on flickr

Thailand was the highest ranking country in Southeast Asia in a recent examination of The 150 Worst (& Safest) Countries for LGBTQ+travel.

The study, published by Asher & Lyric Fergusson, looked at the top 150 most-visited countries in the world (by number of incoming tourists) and then carefully examined LGBTQ+ rights for each country. A LGBTQ+ travel safety index was created based on nine ranking factors.

The survey was not able to evaluate the experiences of travellers in the countries but did try to rate the perceived safety through the results of a Gallup poll (see below).

The report also recognised that certain cities, tourist areas or resorts can sometimes be LGBTQ+ friendly even when the laws of the country as a whole are very anti-LQBTQ+.


A range of factors were examined and a score allocated to each of them to provide a section ranging as well an overall score.

Areas that scored positive points includes legalised same-sex marriage or recognition of foreign arrangements, worker protections, legal protection against discrimination, criminalisation of hate-based violence and results of a Gallup poll asking “Is the city or area where you live a good place or not a good place to live for gay and lesbian people?”

Areas that attracted negative scores included if LGBTQ+ relationships or acts were illegal, if there were any propaganda or morality laws and if there were laws against transgender legal identity.

World Rankings

Overall Southeast Asia nations performed badly in the report with Myanmar (143) and Malaysia (148) both in the bottom ten countries. In fact the only countries to make the top 100 were Thailand (53), Cambodia (71), Vietnam (86) and the Philippines (94).

RankingCountryTravel Safety IndexDanger Rank
53Thailand 130C-
71Cambodia 90D+
96Laos 37D
101Singapore 20D-

The top 3 countries were Canada, the Netherlands and Sweden with Portugal (5), the United Kingdom (7) and Spain (8) all featuring in the top 10.

Australia placed 14th, although some laws varied between states and New Zealand was 16th.

The United States placed in 20th place although some areas varied between states.

Anti LGBTQ+ Laws

A number of countries were highlighted for specific laws that affects the LGBTQ+ community.

In Malaysia the punishments for committing carnal intercourse is up to 20 years imprisonment and whipping. Anyone convicted of committing or attempting to commit an act of gross indecency faces jail of up to 2 years.

In Myanmar the crime of carnal intercourse is punishable by “transportation for life, or with imprisonment of either description for a term which may extend to ten years, and shall also be liable to fine.

In Singapore any male person who commits or attempts to commit any act of gross indecency with another male faces jail for up to 2 years.

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Published by flyingdogtravel

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