Iceland Mag

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Iceland Mag


Iceland least homophobic country in the OECD

By Staff

  • Official recognition of diversity Mayor of Reykjavík (fourth from left) joins preparations for Gay Pride 2016, painting Laugavegur street in rainbow colors. Photo/Vilhelm Gunnarsson

Iceland is more accepting of LGBT people than any other OECD country, a news study by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development has found. The report also finds that Iceland is among thirteen OECD countries with best legal recognition of LGBT rights.

Most accepting of LGBT people worldwide
According to the report Iceland is is more accepting of homosexuality than any other OECD country, closely followed by five other OECD countries with the highest per-capita GDP and quality of life, including three other Nordic countries. Sweden comes in second, the Netherlands third, Norway fourth, Denmark fifth and Switzerland sixth. 

Read more: Icelandic society most tolerant and inclusive worldwide, world's third highest quality of life

The report found that attitudes to LGBT people are significantly more positive in OECD countries than in countries which are not members of the organization.

Acceptance of gay rights
Least homophobic Prosperity and recognition of diversity seem to go hand in hand, with some of the most prosperous OECD countries topping the list. Photo/OECD

Legal recognition of LGBT rights decreases homophobia
Attitudes to LGBT people have increased significantly in all countries studied, including Iceland. For example: Iceland has jumped from sixth least homophobic country in the OECD in 2000 to the least homophobic now. 

The study found that attitudes to LGBT people have increased more in countries which have taken steps to increase the rights of gays, setting LGBT inclusive laws which rectify entrenched biases and barriers in social life or the economy. Legalizing gay marriage is one of the most important of such laws. Same-sex marriages were legally recognized in Iceland in 2010. 

Read more: Iceland is a popular wedding destination for same-sex couples

Legal recognition of LGBT is a key way to de-legitimize homophobia, and inversely, fighting legislation which contributes to equality is an effective way to entrench homophobia and prejudice. Currently 22 countries world-wide recognize same-sex marriage.

Older males with little education least accepting
Other interesting findings in the report are that men are as a rule less accepting of LGBT people than women, as are older people and those with less education.

The study also found that acceptance of immigrants and LGBT people are strongly correlated, with countries which report higher levels of acceptance of immigrants also reporting higher levels of acceptance of LGBT people. The same goes for attitudes to gender equality.


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