The 8 Most LGBTQ+ Friendly Countries in Asia

The 8 Most LGBTQ+ Friendly Countries in Asia
The 8 Most LGBTQ+ Friendly Countries in Asia

A group of individuals in Taipei to take part in the annual Pride parade Photo: EPA

In recent years, there has been a significant shift towards recognizing and protecting the rights of the LGBTQ+ community across the globe. While progress has been uneven, particularly in Asia where cultural and religious norms often influence societal attitudes, there are countries in the region that have made remarkable strides towards fostering acceptance and inclusivity.

From legal protections to vibrant LGBTQ+ communities, here are the eight most LGBT-friendly countries in Asia.


Leading the way as the first Asian nation to legalize same-sex marriage in 2019, Taiwan has set a precedent for LGBT rights in the region. The historic decision marked a monumental victory for the Taiwanese LGBT community and signaled a progressive shift in attitudes towards equality and acceptance. Beyond marriage equality, Taiwan boasts a thriving LGBT scene, particularly in its capital city, Taipei, which hosts one of Asia’s largest pride parades.


While Japan does not legally recognize same-sex marriage nationwide, several municipalities, including Tokyo and Sapporo, have taken steps to provide partnership certificates for same-sex couples, granting them certain rights akin to marriage. Moreover, Japan has seen a growing visibility of LGBT individuals in media and entertainment, contributing to greater societal acceptance and understanding.

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Clockwise from Left to Right: Taiwan; Japan; Nepal; and Thailand
Clockwise from Left to Right: Taiwan; Japan; Nepal; and Thailand


Often hailed as a beacon of LGBT rights in South Asia, Nepal has made significant progress in recent years. In 2008, the Supreme Court of Nepal ruled in favor of recognizing a third gender category, allowing individuals to identify as “other” on official documents. Additionally, Nepal’s new constitution, adopted in 2015, prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, marking a crucial milestone in the fight for equality.

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Renowned for its vibrant culture and welcoming atmosphere, Thailand has emerged as a popular destination for LGBT travelers and expatriates alike. Bangkok, in particular, is home to a thriving gay scene, with an array of bars, clubs, and events catering to the LGBT community. While same-sex marriage remains unrecognized, Thailand has made strides in promoting LGBT rights, including the implementation of anti-discrimination laws in certain regions.

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South Korea

Despite conservative attitudes persisting in some quarters, South Korea has seen a growing acceptance of the LGBT community in recent years. In 2020, the Seoul Metropolitan Government announced plans to provide housing subsidies for LGBT individuals facing discrimination, signaling a commitment to fostering inclusivity and equality. Additionally, Seoul’s annual Queer Culture Festival attracts thousands of participants, showcasing the vibrant diversity of South Korea’s LGBT community.

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The Philippines

With a rich history of LGBT activism, the Philippines has emerged as a beacon of hope for LGBT rights in Southeast Asia. While same-sex marriage remains illegal, several cities, including Quezon City and Marikina, have passed ordinances recognizing civil partnerships for same-sex couples. Moreover, the Philippines boasts a thriving LGBT community, with annual pride events drawing large crowds in Manila and other urban centers.

Clockwise from Left to Right: South Korea; Philippines; India; and Vietnam
Clockwise from Left to Right: South Korea; Philippines; India; and Vietnam

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In a landmark ruling in 2018, the Supreme Court of India decriminalized homosexuality, overturning a colonial-era law that had been used to persecute LGBT individuals for decades. The verdict was celebrated as a watershed moment for LGBT rights in India, signaling a significant shift in societal attitudes towards acceptance and inclusivity. Despite ongoing challenges, India’s vibrant LGBT community continues to advocate for equal rights and representation.


While LGBT rights in Vietnam have seen gradual progress in recent years, there remains room for improvement in terms of legal recognition and protection. In 2015, Vietnam passed a law allowing transgender individuals to legally change their gender, marking a significant step towards recognizing gender diversity. Moreover, Vietnam’s vibrant urban centers, such as Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, boast a growing LGBT scene, with bars, clubs, and events catering to the community’s diverse needs.

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