Latin America may be more LGBT-friendly than you think.
This year’s edition of the “Spartacus International Gay Travel Index,” released in February, places several Latin American countries among the most LGBT-friendly in the world, belying the stereotype of a region drenched in Catholicism-infused machismo.
The index, which ranks 138 of the world’s countries, calculates its scores based on criteria including legislation guaranteeing the LGBT rights to marriage and adoption, as well as the frequency of acts of violence against the community.
Sweden topped the list, followed by several European countries before the first Latin American country appears, holding 9th place.
It’s not surprising that much of the region fared well. Though many might suspect that Latin America’s Catholicism would hold it back from embracing LGBT rights, several countries in the region have passed trailblazing legislation.
Argentina became the first Latin American country to legalize same-sex marriage in 2010. Mexico City passed a law in 2009 that gave gay and lesbian couples the right to marry and to adopt children. Other countries, like Colombia, Ecuador and Brazil, have recognized domestic partnerships for same-sex couples.
Some places still have a ways to go, but are making strides. For example, Puerto Rico, which placed a mediocre 89th, just passed a major anti-discrimination law aimed at defending the LGBT community.
At the same time, a few countries did pretty poorly. Honduras, one of the most violent countries in Latin America, came in at a dismal 104th -- tied with Peru.
Find out which Latin American countries are the most LGBT-friendly in the slideshow above.