While significant strides have been made in LGBTQ+ rights in many countries, teachers from this community planning to teach abroad may still face some challenges. Certain popular teaching destinations might not openly discuss sexual orientation and gender identity, and in some places, homosexuality is still criminalized. Therefore, it is important to familiarize yourself with the conditions in your preferred countries to ensure your overseas teaching journey is safe and fulfilling. Here, we highlight a few countries that stand out as welcoming places for LGBTQ+ English teachers.
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Known for its liberal outlook and commitment to equal rights, Spain is a favored destination for teaching English abroad. Legalizing same-sex marriage in the early 2000s, it was among the pioneers in this regard. Discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation is illegal, and transgender individuals can legally change their name and gender. The country regularly hosts gay festivals, with Barcelona Gay Pride and the International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival being particularly popular. The beach resort of Sitges in Catalonia is renowned for its gay-friendly vibe.
Germany's legalization of homosexuality in the 1960s positioned it as a leader in gay rights in Europe. Although same-sex marriage wasn't legalized until 2017, Germany continues to be an inclusive destination for teaching English abroad. Cities like Berlin, Hamburg, and Cologne host annual Gay Pride events, attracting sizable crowds. Berlin houses the Schwules Museum, the world's first queer museum, dedicated to LGBTQ+ history and culture.
Recognized as the most liberal and progressive country in Latin America, Uruguay has become a popular destination for LGBTQ+ teachers. The country banned discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity two decades ago, and same-sex marriage was legalized in 2013. Uruguayan citizens are entitled to free gender confirmation surgery, and transgender individuals can change their names without legal hassles. While the capital city, Montevideo, boasts an active LGBTQ+ nightlife, homosexuality is widely accepted nationwide.
Another Latin American destination, Argentina, is known for its welcoming environment for LGBTQ+ English teachers. It was the region's first to legalize same-sex marriage in 2010. Same-sex couples can freely adopt, and lesbian couples have the same IVF treatment rights as heterosexual couples. Buenos Aires hosts a vibrant gay scene, and its annual pride parade is one of South America's biggest. Argentinians are known for their friendliness, irrespective of your sexual orientation.
Thailand's popularity among TEFL qualified teachers spans across various backgrounds, owing to its ample job opportunities, year-round tropical climate, delightful cuisine, and vibrant nightlife. It is also known for its warm hospitality towards foreign visitors, including the LGBTQ+ community. Despite public displays of affection being frowned upon, irrespective of sexual orientation, same-sex couples are generally accepted.
Like Thailand, Taiwan draws numerous English teachers each year, including those from the LGBTQ+ community. It recently legalized same-sex marriage and banned workplace discrimination based on gender identity and sexual orientation in 2007. Taipei hosts Asia's largest gay pride event, Taiwan Pride. If you are considering teaching English in East Asia, Taiwan is an emerging hotspot for LGBTQ+ teachers.