Portugal for LGBT Digital Nomads

Portugal has proved to be a haven for the gay community. Tolerance and safety are also synonymous with quality of life, and this has motivated a large portion of the LGBT community to relocate to Portugal, to live without fear or fear of prejudice.

According to the Asher & Lyric LGBTQ+danger index, Portugal is the fifth safest country in the world. In this article, we’ll talk about the gay community in the country, and social figures who have helped Portugal to move towards this.

© Asher & Lyric

LGBT in Portugal

Portugal is known as a more tolerant country to the LGBT community and where one can live more freely, regardless of sexual orientation, without fearing physical aggression in public spaces.

Note that Portugal is not a gay paradise, however, it is a place with reduced numbers of prejudice, violence, and intolerance, especially in cities like Lisbon, Porto, and the Algarve region, even in smaller (and more conservative) locations.

Kiki Pais de Sousa

When it comes to matters involving the LGBT community in Portugal, Kiki Pais de Sousa is a reference in the country, being one of the most representative figures of the Portuguese transgender environment. Over the years, Kiki has participated in important educational campaigns related to gender diversity, TV programs, and, in addition to being a businesswoman, she also holds the position of Secretary to the President of the General Assembly of the LGBTI Association of Commerce and Tourism of Portugal.

ILGA Portugal

The country’s oldest association for the defense of the rights of the LGBT community is ILGA Portugal. ILGA Portugal promotes the social integration of the LGBT population through a support program in the social sphere, which can offer a better quality of life, through the fight against prejudice based on sexual orientation. 

The Association’s major goal is to help the LGBTI community and their families in Portugal integrate into society by:

  • a broad social assistance program that ensures the development of their quality of life 
  • the battle against discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual characteristics
  • the promotion of human rights as well as gender equality

ILGA Portugal was established in 1995 and became legally recognized in 1996. Its headquarters and LGBT Center were located on Rua de S. Lázaro in Lisbon from 1997 till the beginning of 2014. The Association’s headquarters, offices, and services, as well as the LGBT Center with its cultural program, are currently located at Rua dos Fanqueiros in Baixa Pombalina.

Other Organizations

Apart from ILGA, some other organizations also work for the rights of the LGBT community in Portugal.

  • Safo Club (headquartered in Aveiro)
  • Don’t Prive (headquartered in Coimbra)
  • Opus Gay
  • Pink Panthers
  • Ex Aequo Network (headquartered in Lisbon)

LGBT-Friendly Areas in Lisbon

Without a doubt, Lisbon is the city that attracts the most attention when it comes to living in Portugal, where some of the friendliest regions of the country are located, such as Arroios and Misericórdia, being the places preferred by the LGBT community.

The Príncipe Real (Misericórdia) area is considered the most LGBTI-friendly place (including areas such as Santa Catarina and Bairro Alto), with a large abundance of bars, clubs, and other environments for the gay community.

The most expensive and preferred spots by the LGBT population to live and have fun are Santo Antônio, which covers Avenida da Liberdade, Santa Maria Maior, which also includes Chiado and Misericórdia. 

Lisbon stands out more and more for its identity as an inclusive city, which welcomes the difference. However, note that living in these areas is not cheap and rents are known to be high when compared to other areas in Lisbon. 

LGBT Events in Portugal

  • Arraial Pride (Lisbon)
  • Pride March (Lisbon)
  • Porto Pride March (Porto)
  • Porto Pride (Porto)
  • Rainbow Awards

In addition to gay pride, the country also stands out with Queer Lisboa, a film festival dedicated to the LGBT community, where it shows films and documentaries from around the world.

Every year, around 100 productions are exhibited at Queer Lisboa. It’s one of the most popular festivals of its kind in Europe.

Timeline of LGBT Rights in Portugal

  • 1982: Portugal decriminalized homosexuality
  • 1999: Homosexuals and bisexuals were accepted to serve in the military
  • 2001: Stable unions were extended to same-sex couples (except adoption)
  • 2003: Labor code was revised (access to work and employment, protection against discrimination at work and sexual harassment)
  • 2004: Sexual orientation was included in the Portuguese Constitution (Principle of Equality)
  • 2005: Instituto Português do Sangue allowed blood donation by homosexuals, bisexuals. The decision was canceled in 2009 by the then President of the Institute, Gabriel Olim
  • 2007: Penal Code was revised (age of consent become equal to that of opposite-sex couples)
  • 2009: Issues related to sexual orientation was included in the Sex Education Act in schools;
  • 2010: Parliament approved the document that recommends the non-discrimination of homosexuals and bisexuals in blood donation
  • 2010: Marriage rights extended to same-sex couples (same rights and duties as heterosexual couples, except adoption)
  • 2015: Adoption and civil sponsorship of children by same-sex couples were approved by the Parliament
  • 2016: Access to PMA (Medically Assisted Procreation) for women, by the Parliament approves, regardless of sexual orientation and marital status


There you have it. Hope we’ve given you an insight into LGBT Community in Portugal. Note that, In Portugal, discrimination can (does not mean that it happens) occur through curious looks, negative comments, or even verbal insults in the face of public expressions of affection between people of the same sex. However, even so, these opposite reactions are not common, which is why the LGBT community also feels at ease in the country, without fear of a “witch hunt” as can occur in some extremely homophobic countries.

Have you ever been to Portugal? Do you think it’s gay-friendly? Let us know what you think. For further reading, check out our article on LGBT Rights in Europe.