A new LGBTQ+ travel index has ranked the Cayman Islands 85th out of 150 countries rated for their level of safety for people from the LGBTQ+ community and their supporters to visit.
The index, which was compiled and published by travel review website Asher & Lyric, set out nine main areas of focus in each country: the legal status of same-sex marriage; protections against discrimination; criminalisation of violence; worker protections; adoption recognition; whether it is a good place to live; transgender legal-identity laws; illegal same-sex relationships and associated punishments; and the existence of propaganda/morality laws which prevent the discussion of LGBTQ+ issues.
“The index was created using those nine factors, and additional weight was given to the Gallup Poll, of whether it is a good place to live,” said lead researcher Asher Fergusson.
When scoring Cayman, Fergusson said the recent Civil Partnership Law helped to increase the jurisdiction’s score and make it a more-friendly jurisdiction.
“The country still lacks laws that protect against the discrimination of LGBTQ+ workers, and the criminalisation of violence such as hate speech,” he said.
The index ranks countries from the worse to the friendliest jurisdictions. Along with the ranking, each country is given a grade, which ranges between -200 and 400, with a corresponding alphabetical grading system that that runs from F to A.
Nigeria, Saudi Arabia and Malaysia received the lowest grades by the researchers who rated them the three worst countries to visit or live in for LGBTQ+ people. Canada was the highest ranked country with a score of 384 and an A. The Netherlands and Sweden tied for second with a score of 377, also receiving A grades. Cayman tied with Poland, receiving scores of 61 and a D.
“More than 250 hours was spent researching each country, and looking into their laws and customs,” said Fergusson, who has been compiling the list for two years. “What we tend to find is that most countries make progress each year. However, we have seen some cases where countries have taken steps back.”
Fergusson has done extensive travelling across the world and said his experience across Caribbean countries has been one where old colonial laws were forced onto the people and remain in place.
“We are not trying to discourage people from visiting these countries; we want them to be informed before they make the choice, so that they can decide whether or not they want to support a country that discriminates against people, based on who they love,” said Fergusson.
He added, “What I hope is that the various tourism ministers will see this index and that it will help to pressure them into rethinking those old archaic laws, several of which were forced on the people by their former colonial masters and might not truly reflect the wishes of the people today.
“We are now in 2021… it is time to update their laws to be favourable for all citizens.”