Israel is the seventh happiest place for gay men in the world, according to an online survey of 115,000 gay men in 127 countries.
The 2015 Gay Happiness Index crowned Iceland as the happiest country for gay men to live in, followed by fellow Nordic nations Norway, Denmark, and Sweden. Uganda won the dubious distinction of being last on the list. The U.K. ranked 23, and the U.S. 26.
The Gay Happiness Index, a collaboration between the gay dating network PlanetRomeo and researchers from Germany’s Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, measured each country by how the respondents perceive wider societal opinion of them as gay men, as well as individual experiences of homophobia.
Unhappiest in Africa and the Middle East
In total, 27 of the lowest-ranking 30 countries on the GHI are in Africa and the Middle East; the other three are in the Balkans.
Africa is home to the world’s three unhappiest countries for gay men: Uganda, at 127, ranked last on the GHI, followed by Sudan and Ethiopia.
Kuwait, at 62, is the second happiest country for gay men in the Middle East, followed by Qatar (68) and Turkey (82).
Palestine, Syria, Yemen and Bahrain were not included. (A detailed report, published along with the GHI, explains that for statistical reasons, only countries with at least 20 respondents appear in the index).
In Asia, Thailand is the happiest country for gay men (16). China placed 63, and India a lowly 81.
The report claims that the survey is novel in scope and methodology, and notes that its intercultural sample was drawn from PlanetRomeo.com’s 1.8 million users.
Measuring gay happiness
The survey’s first category, ‘public opinion,’ measured respondents’ views on how society perceives gay men, including how positively or negatively their country’s laws are toward them, and whether the respondents would kiss or hold hands with another man in public.
The second category, ‘public behavior,’ rated participants’ reported experiences of discrimination, including among family members and in the workplace, as well as instances of verbal or physical assault.
In the third category, levels of ‘life satisfaction’ were gauged by asking participants questions such as whether they have or intend to move or change jobs on account of their sexual orientation.
Based on the responses of its 337 respondents, Israel scored 71 out of 100 overall, earning its highest marks in the ‘life satisfaction’ section (74), and lowest in the ‘public opinion’ category (69). Just over half indicated ‘high life satisfaction,’ and 37% a medium level, while nearly two-thirds expressed ‘high self-acceptance’ being gay.
In other measurements, 86% of gay Israeli men surveyed reported being out to their family, while 37% reported experiencing verbal insults, and 9% physical assaults.
Gay Kenyans protest neighboring Uganda’s anti-gay policies outside the Uganda High Commission in Nairobi, Feb. 10, 2014. (AP)
The survey also queried participants on whether they believe their situation in their home countries has improved, worsened or remained the same over the past year. In the eyes of the respondents, last-placed Uganda experienced the most negative change for gay men, followed by Kyrgyzstan and Sudan. Pronounced improvement was noted in North and South America, as well as in Southeast Asia.
Also included in the report are “open messages to the world” from a number of survey participants, including this from a 22-year-old Egyptian: “Living as a gay man in Egypt is just like living in hell gay people are treated so bad and being arrested and even killed by their parents.”
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