An updated study from the Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law ranked the world's nations by levels of LGBT acceptance. The current report updates and expands a previous Williams Institute report, "Polarized Progress: Social Acceptance of LGBT People in 141 Countries, 1981 to 2014."
Coming in at number 1 is the island nation of Iceland, known for its natural beauty, for being the home of pop star Björk, and for being the first country to have an LGBT prime minister on anything but a fill-in basis, lesbian Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir, who served from 2009 to 2013 (pictured above is Iceland's capital, Reykjavik). Nearly all of the most accepting nations were in Europe, with the Netherlands, Sweden, Andorra, and Norway rounding out the top five.
The findings looked at survey data from respondents who were asked their beliefs on the morality of homosexuality, the desire for an LGBT coworker, and the acceptability of discrimination, among other questions. The data was compiled from 2009 to 2013 and compared to responses to similar questions asked from 2004 to 2008. When it came to the five most accepting nations for LGBT people, the ranking did not change from data culled from 2004to 2008 to the 2009-2013 research.
The United States came in at number 23 in this most recent findings, rising from number 25 in the 2004-2008 data. Malta, Uruguay, Argentina, and Australia all ranked higher than the U.S. in the most recent list.
The report found that some of the homophobic, biphobic, and transphobic nations on Earth became even more so in intervening years. At the bottom of the Williams Institute list were Azerbaijan (the least accepting nation), Georgia, Saudi Arabia, Bangladesh, and Egypt.
Of the countries studied, 131 (75 percent) have experienced an increase in acceptance since 1981, nine countries (16 percent) experienced no change, and 27 (9 percent) had a decrease in acceptance.
"Sexual and gender minorities all over the world are heavily impacted by the attitudes and beliefs of those around them," study author Andrew R. Flores, visiting scholar at the Williams Institute, said in a statement, "More acceptance is related to less bullying and violence, better physical and mental health and less discrimination."