Sweden: An LGBTIQ+ country – The Newbie Guide to Sweden

Sweden is one of the countries supporting LGBTIQ+ the most. Always perceived as a top country regarding equality an inclusion, it is an example of progress in the field. August is the Pride month in Sweden and therefore, a good moment to check how LGBTIQ+ rights are in the country.

A bit of history

Sweden has been usually called “Gay from 1944” because that was the year when sexual relationships were decriminalized in the country. In 1972, Sweden became the first country in the world legally regulating gender reassignment. However, it would not be until 1979 when the National Board of Health and Welfare ceased considering it an illness. 

Little by little, different regulations and non-discrimination laws were established, especially, after the year 2000. In 2003, registered partners started to be able to adopt children. Some years after, in 2009, Sweden legalised same-sex marriage, becoming Sweden the 4th country in Europe to do it.

To read more about the legal overview – here-.

Same-sex weddings and the Church

One of the aspects that makes Sweden different from other lands is the possibility of celebrating same-sex weddings in the Church. While in many countries the Church has kept a traditional view about marriage, the Swedish Church has followed a totally different path.

The Church celebrates same-sex ceremonies since the legalization of same-sex marriage in 2009. Furthermore, it creates events, groups and projects to make LGBTIQ+ people and families feel included in the Church.

Sweden, one of the most gay-friendly countries

The legal progress mentioned above has helped Sweden to become one of the most gay-friendly countries worldwide. Sweden is in the top 10 of most LGBTQ-friendly countries in Europe. Besides, the Spartacus Index ranks it top 3 in its Gay Travel Index

With more than 30 Pride celebrations around the country, it is interesting to mention the Sapmi Pride. This celebration supports the LGBTIQ+ rights of the indigenous people in Lapland and celebrates the Pride in the Saami way

Also, the Europride – the European international LGBTI event hosted by different European cities each year-, has been in Sweden on three occasions: 1998, 2008 and 2018. The last one, both in Stockholm and Gothenburg, being the first time the Europride was in two cities at the same time.

Willing to support everyone to express their sexuality and gender identity freely, Migrationverket helps LGBTIQ+ people worldwide to find asylum. To apply for it, it is necessary to have a “well-founded fear of persecution because of your sexual orientation, gender, gender expression or gender identity.”

There is still work to do

Although many are the progress done for the equality and inclusion of LGBTIQ+, it is essential to mention that there is still work to do. Many regulations are still crucial. For instance, gender identity rights are not as regulated as sexual orientation rights, being the path for improvements in rights for transgender people are wide.

Many are the organisations working for LGBTIQ+ rights in Sweden, such as RFSL. Besides, it is important to mention the existence of different institutional figures working for Equality. For instance, the known as HomO (Ombudsmannen mot diskriminering på grund av sexuell läggning).

This specific Ombudsman officer worked until 2009, specifically on the rights of LGBTQ+ people. Afterwards, the HomO merged with other Ombudsman offices into the Equality Ombudsman (Diskrimineringsombudsmannen), “a public authority with the task of counteracting discrimination and promoting equal rights and opportunities.”


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Silvia Lopez on Instagram
Silvia Lopez

Hello! I am a Spanish living in Sweden. I have studied my master in Political Science at SU and I’m also learning Swedish!

I love music and watching football and hockey but, my favourite thing is travelling, discovering new food, new places, new people and learn about other cultures!

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