According to the findings of a survey undertaken by the website Planet Romeo in collaboration with the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz in Germany, Icelandic gay men are the happiest gays in the world.
The Gay Happiness Index was designed by combining questions relating to three topics: public opinion, how gay men feel about society’s view on homosexuality; public behavior, how gay men experience the way they are treated by other people; and life satisfaction, how satisfied gay men are with their lives and whether or not they accept themselves.
Iceland is closely followed by Norway, Denmark and Sweden, leading Planet Romeo to refer to these countries collectively as ‘gay heaven,’ while Iraq, Kyrgyztan, Ethiopia, Sudan and Uganda get the lowest marks.
Planet Romeo’s proprietors expressed their concern with recent negative developments in LGBT rights in many countries all over the world, saying that “the GHI is not only about the happiness of gay men, it can also be seen as a powerful indicator for the general development of freedom, justice and security in a country,” and added that “those who propagate hatred towards minorities attack all human values.”
At the same time Iceland ranks 12th best in LGBT rights internationally, down from 8th last year. Unnsteinn Jóhannesson of Samtökin 78, the Icelandic gay rights association, attributes the lower ranking primarily to advances in other countries, rather than a backtracking of rights in Iceland.
Malta, the country that currently tops the index, has made great strides in the past year, passing legislation aimed at protecting the rights of transgendered and intersex people. Similar legislation is underway in Iceland, spearheaded by Svandís Svavarsdóttir, MP for the Left-Green Movement, but Unnsteinn expects the bill will receive multipartisan support.