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Best Countries for African American LGBTQI to Relocate To! | Wandering Soup
If you are a member of any BLACK travel group on Facebook or follow a BLACK centric IG page, you would believe--and possibly rightly so--that everyone is looking to leave America for a multitude of reasons, culminating in the upcoming election. There's been a huge "Back to Africa" movement along with a few other countries for various reasons, unfortunately a lot of the countries listed or touted as the new home for US aren't really for US and by US, I mean African American LGBTQI members. Whether you are card-carrying or not.
If you are a member of any of these Black travel groups, be they LGBTQI-centric or not, an often-asked question is where can "we" go that we will be safe? That offers opportunities? If you put either of those questions in Google, a slew of articles, blogs, and think pieces populate with the same "white" results. And by that, almost all of the countries listed are either predominantly White or European or easier for those who aren't Black or of color to immigrate to.
We've done some research to help answer both of those questions and possibly a few others that you didn't think of. Also check out our YouTube series "Move TO" where we break down several key elements for each country.
Laws - Marriage, Adoption, Legality of Being, Racism. We did not look at Pride events, dating, or the scene itself because all of that will vary per individual.
Disclaimer: There is no BLACK GAY UTOPIA. Below is a list of the best possible alternatives in no particular order.
Taiwan, Thailand, & Vietnam
All three countries in SE Asia are fantastic for visiting and relocating to as the laws for gay marriage are either relatively new (Taiwan 2019) or established and open. My wife and I have lived in Vietnam and traveled to Thailand with no issues and no hesitation in saying out loud this is my wife in introductions. All of these countries are hailed as havens for LGBTQI members, and I semi-agree though only on the surface as legally, as of today, this is only in Taiwan. Don't expect that this supposed largesse crosses over to racism and that it either doesn't exist or occur. It does. It happens. It's not as overt and ingrained in the laws as evidenced in America, but it's there in subtle ways that you honestly don't have to look too far to see. From Blackface events/pictures, culture thievery, and anti-blackness or anti-color in all of the beauty products. As an added note, check the ingredients of any skin care item, including soap, for bleaching agents. They are present in all brands and products.
Note: Vietnam does not have any laws against same sex activity, however they do not offer protection to those who are in same gender-loving households.
Same sex marriage has been legal here since 2005, and it's relatively open in that regard, and generally you won't have too many problems. On the flip side, being Black might be your biggest issue here. Unlike Vietnam, Thailand, and Taiwan where racism has been assisted by Western media and biases, Spain has it's own history of enslavement and colonization. As such there are issues, political and otherwise, that are more obvious when it comes to immigration, policing, and blackface.
All that to say--you can be happily gay here but...there may be some tension around your skin color. Maybe. Choose your city/neighborhood wisely.
Costa Rica became the first Central American country to recognize gay marriage in May of this year (2020).
For the last 20 years or so, it's been the jump-off point for a lot of Americans who are living abroad for the first time for a number of reasons: affordability (though that is changing), ease of travel to and from America, and of course the language.
Racism is present but not to the extent that I think you should worry about, more along the lines of colorism. Not that that really changes things, just gives a different spin on issues that may occur. You shouldn't have too many issues here, just choose your city/neighborhood wisely.
If being LGBTQI in South America is your goal, then you can't go wrong in regards to Uruguay which has some of the most liberal LGBTQI laws and rights in the world. Your biggest concern will be your skin color due to the effects of colonization. There are "Black" people in Uruguay (9%) titled Afro-Uruguayans, and unfortunately they are among the poorest people in the country due to continued marginalization
that is still present today. All that to say, you will possibly face discrimination due to your skin color in Uruguay though being "American" may open more doors than close them. Be cognizant and aware of your city and neighborhood choice.
Portugal has been on the move in regards to LGBTQI rights, in the right direction with same sex marriage being legal since 2005, adoption since 2016 and more. If you are looking for a country that is actively working to make things better and protect LGBTQI people, then this is the country for you. As for racism, this is also a good country to look at when it comes to laws, at least on paper, with anti-discrimination laws being present since 1999.
There has been an uptick in racism and xenophobia sentiment that mirrors the globe. With all that being said, Portugal is a good choice that I think most will be happy with. You can also look at Spain if you are interested in this part of the world.
This tiny country, which derives most of it's income from tourism, is leading the way in regards to LGBTQI rights in comparison to other European nations. If you choose Malta, expect to not encounter overt racism based on skin color or sexual preference, though the "old" guard is still present. No one will out and out attack you, nor should you fear the police/government.
All of the below have great to good LGBTQI rights, unfortunately there are issues either with being "out" or being "Black." Although I don't believe that an American will have issues in either country being Black or LGBTQI (hate crimes), the issues are present and visible. Disclaimer: We are moving to Mexico and are looking forward to it.
Hopefully the information above aids you in the search for either your move abroad or your slow travel adventures and if you've enjoyed what you read:
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