Malta finishes top of the annual Rainbow Map and Index by the ILGA, which ranks 49 European countries on their "respective legal and policy practices for LGBTQ+ people".
The ILGA – International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association – awards each country a score of 0-100% on its queer rights record, and Malta receives an impressive 92% this year.
Denmark finishes second on the 2022 list, which is a jump of seven places year-on-year. The IGLA notes that Denmark is "taking the lead in filling in anti-discrimination gaps in current legislation", including extending its penal code to include sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics as grounds for hate crime.
Germany is praised for introducing a ban on intersex genital mutilation, while France is praised for banning so-called 'conversion therapy' on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity.
However, the UK has actually dropped four places year-on-year from 10th to 14th. According to the IGLA, this reflects the fact that "evidence was brought forward this year that the [UK's] equality body is not, as set out in its mandate, effectively protecting on the grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity".
Earlier this month the government confirmed in the Queen's Speech that it finally intends to ban conversion therapy, a widely discredited pseudoscience predicated on the false and incredibly damaging idea that being LGBTQ+ is a mental disorder that can be "cured".
However, the government has said it only intends to ban conversion therapy on the grounds of sexual orientation, not on gender identity as well. This leaves some of the UK's most vulnerable LGBTQ+ people – the trans community – vulnerable to this barbaric practice.