Flags of Inequality

If countries had equal rights for their LGBTQ+ citizens this visualization would not exist. We make use of the rainbow flag to portray to what extent different dimensions of queer life are disregarded by state regulations.

ByRita CostaandBeatriz Malveiro

First, let's learn how to interpret the flags.
Each has six colors: purple, blue,green,yellow,orange andred. Every segment has the same width and height. We match these to the categories that ILGA assesses in its reports.
In our metaphor, purple represents the Asylum category. This looks at how LGBTQ+ asylum seekers are treated in each country.
With blue, we encode the Civil society spacecategory. It covers the ability for organizations to safely operate; the organization of public events; freedom of expression; and funding laws.
The green covers the protection ofLegal gender recognitionandIntersex bodily integrity. Up until 2022, this used to be a single category but was split in two this year. For consistency among years, we decided to keep these categories together.
yellow depicts the protection (or lack of) againsthate crime and hate speech.
orange covers the recognition ofLGBTQ+ familiesby assessing if there are rights such as marriage equality or joint adoption, for example.
And lastly, red represents Equality and non-discrimination. It encompasses the constitutional protection of rights such as non-discrimination based on sexual orientation, right to employment, access to goods and services, access to healthcare and education, among others.
In the ideal flag, all the segments would be equally sized and completely fill the area of the flag. Unfortunately, no country has achieved full equality yet, so no flag is complete.
Take Malta 🇲🇹 for example. It is one of the countries which is constantly on the top of the ranking and very close to full coveraging the rights of their LGBTQ+ citizens. But because it is lacking in some areas onEquality and non-discriminationandIntersex bodily integrity, its flag is still incomplete.
On the other side of the spectrum, there are countries like Russia 🇷🇺, with a barely visible flag, still a long way from full equality.
Below, you will find the flags for 49 European countries with sizes proportional to the coverage of rights for their LGBTQ+ communites. This work uses the data gathered yearly by ILGA Europe in their Rainbow Index. Our goal is to showcase the huge disparaties between different countries but also to make clear that in no country full equality as been achieved yet.


The data in this project comes from ILGA-Europe's yearlyRainbow IndexBecause data is not currently made available in a manageable format, we scraped it from the website for the years between 2015 to 2023. All the raw data and the scrapper code is made available in theproject's repository.

We collected the rating that ILGA provides for each category for each country over the years. We also gathered the assessment that the organization does of the different criteria inside each category. The first set of information is used in the construction of the different flags, where the size is proportional to how accomplished the countries are in the promotion of equality for their LGBTQ+ community. In 2022, Rainbow Data introduced "Intersex bodily integrity" as a seventh category. Criteria covered in this category was previously part of "Legal gender recognition and bodily integrity". To allow comparison across different years, we merged the new category with "Legal gender recognition" for the years 2022 and 2023. To do so, we calculated the weighted average of the two categories based on the number of criteria covered by each.