It’s a big, beautiful world that everyone should be free to explore regardless of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation. Sadly, there are some parts of the world that aren’t welcoming to openly LGBT travelers. We recently wrote about some of the popular tourist destinations that are surprisingly anti gay. Here’s the flip side. There are many other countries on this planet that accept diversity and don’t discriminate on issues that are of an inherently private nature. The Spartacus International Gay Travel Index recently ranked 139 countries in terms of their anti-discrimination legislation, crime statistics against homosexuals, religious stances on LGBT issues, gay marriage acceptance and other criteria. Here are 12 of the most gay friendly countries that warrant a visit for many reasons beyond their progressive policies.

12. Spain

Despite its Catholic roots, Spain is one of the most gay friendly countries in the world. In a Pew Research poll on global morality, Spain came out as the most tolerant nation towards LBGT issues. Only six percent of Spaniards surveyed consider homosexuality immoral – the lowest rate of any nation. Spain was the third country in the world to legalize same-sex marriage. Madrid’s annual Pride parade is known as the biggest party in Europe, and the city will be hosting the 2015 World Gay Pride. So feel free to explore the history, culture and beauty of Spain without having to hide your orientation.

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