Portugal is the most gay friendly country in the world: how much does it cost to live in a gay neighbourhood there?

ROBIN WORRALL/Unsplash
ROBIN WORRALL/Unsplash
2 July 2019, Redaction

Portugal was voted the world's most gay friendly destination (alongside Sweden and Canada), according to the Spartacus International Gay Guide Index 2019. Advances in equality laws in Portugal have placed the country at the head of the table for the best destinations for the LGBTI+ community (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex), although there is still a lot of ground to cover. Lisbon is the main gay centre in Portugal, with some of the most inclusive neighbourhoods in the country – Arroios and Misericórdia are the more popular gay parishes, or freguesias, in the capital. So, how much does it cost to buy or rent a house in the gay neighbourhoods of Lisbon? idealista/news went looking for answers.

João Passos, manager of the "Lisboa Pride - homes for everyone" project, and real estate consultant at Remax for the last 10 years, "doesn't see any major changes in the city of Lisbon" as far as the favourite LGBTI+ areas to live in.

Avenida Almirante Reis / Wikimedia commons
Avenida Almirante Reis / Wikimedia commons

"The area of Príncipe Real (Misericórida) continues to be the LGBTI+ area par excellence (with surrounding areas included, such as Santa Catarina and Bairro Alto), and the Almirante Reis (Intendente, Bairro das Colónias, ChilE- Freguesia de Arroios) is a growing area thanks to lower prices and access to the metro (green line, direct to Baixa/Chiado)," he explained to idealista/news.

The real estate specialist also added that it is in the Almirante Reis axis that "a good part of the LGBTI+ community from other countries, especially Brazil, is focussed in Lisbon."

How much does it cost to buy or rent in the rainbow areas of the capital?

Housing prices in the Portuguese capital are getting higher and higher. The latest local Housing Price Statistics, released in May by the National Statistics Institute (Instituto Nacional de Estatística or INE), presented Lisbon as the most expensive city in Portugal to buy a house. The median price in the municipality was set at 3,010 euros per square metre, or 280 euros per square foot, with three parishes exceeding 4,000 euros/m2 (372 euros/sq ft): the parish of Santo António (4,568 euros/m2 or 424 euros/sq ft), which includes Avenida da Liberdade; Santa Maria Maior (4,297 euros/m2 or 399 euros/sq ft), which includes Chiado and Misericórdia (4,126 euros/m2 or 383 euros/sq ft) – one of the faves of the LGBTI+ community. In Arroios (another LGBTI+ friendly area), prices were set at 3,000 euros/m2, or 279 euros/sq ft.

idealista/news wanted to know how much it costs to buy or rent a house with one or two rooms in the gay areas of Misericórdia and Arroios. According to info provided by idealista/data – correct as of the date of publication of this article – to rent a T1 (one-bedroom home) in Arroios can cost an average of 925 euros per month. A T2 house is more expensive – it will take about 1,300 euros per month on average. What about buying? A house with 1 room costs an average of 240,000 euros, whereas for a T2 home the average values rise to 315,000 euros.

Jardins do Príncipe Real in the Misericórdia area / Wikimedia commons
Jardins do Príncipe Real in the Misericórdia area / Wikimedia commons

The parish of Misericórdia presents higher values when compared with Arroios. Renting a 1-bed apartment in Misericórdia could cost about 960 per month. The average rental price for a house with two bedrooms is about 1,600 euros a month. Buying a house will set you back few euros more. A house with one bedroom costs an average of 510,800 euros, while the average price of a T2 is around 615,000 euros.

The new House of Diversity being built in Arroios

Arroios is considered the most multicultural freguesia in Lisbon, where about 92 nationalities coexist peacefully. It is in this area that the House of Diversity is to be built, a space that will host the future Municipal LGBTI+ Centre and Municipal Centre for Interculturality, which promises to be a support centre for communities and minorities in the fight against discrimination and violence.

The 'Casa da Diversidade' will be built in the Mercado do Forno do Tijolo in Arroios / Wikimedia commons
The 'Casa da Diversidade' will be built in the Mercado do Forno do Tijolo in Arroios / Wikimedia commons

The project – with the support of the Lisbon City Hall – will be installed in the Mercado do Forno do Tijolo and should be completed in 2020/2021.

Portugal is a top destination for LGBTI travellers

Portugal was elected the most hospitable destination in the world for the LGBTI community, sharing first place in the ranking with Canada and Sweden, according to the Spartacus International Gay Guide Index 2019. The data show that, between 2018 and 2019, Portugal jumped to the top of the table, climbing 27 positions.

The index ranked 197 countries based on 14 criteria, including anti-discrimination laws, marriage and partnerships, adoption, transgender rights and persecution of LGBTI+ people.

The situation for LGBTI+ tourists in Brazil, Germany and the USA has worsened. In both Brazil and the US, right-wing conservative governments have introduced initiatives to revoke past LGBTI+ rights. "These actions have led to an increase in homophobic and transphobic violence," the study says. There was also an increase in violence against LGBTI+ people in Germany, which fell from 3rd place to 23rd.

Some of the most dangerous countries for LGBTI+ people to travel to remain Saudi Arabia, Iran, Somalia and the Russian Republic of Chechnya – the last in the table – where gay people are tortured, imprisoned and even killed.

The social climate in Portugal is still homophobic

Despite the advances in the law and the country being internationally recognised as an LGBTI+ friendly country, "the social climate in Portugal is still homophobic and transphobic", according to statements from ILGA Portugal (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Intervention), to the Lusa associated press about the International Day against Homophobia and Transphobia that on 17th May.

Charlotte Butcher/Unsplash
Charlotte Butcher/Unsplash

The association took advantage of the date to release the second follow-up report to the Council of Europe recommendation for the adoption of measures to combat discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation and gender identity, highlighting the facts that no assessment of the impact of the legislation on the LGBTI+ community has been made and that Portugal does not collect data on the experiences of these people, including crimes, despite the "constant demands" from various organisations.

In the report, ILGA recommended a revision to article 13 of the Portuguese Constitution – the Principle of Equality – because it only explicitly mentions the issue of sexual orientation, whereas the association believes that gender identity, gender expression and sexual characteristics should also be made explicit in the law.

LGBTI+ Pride March comes to Lisbon

The capital dressed up in rainbow colours on Saturday 22nd June 2019 to mark the defence of equality and freedom in sexual orientation and gender identity, in what is considered to be Pride month in many cities around the world.

Lisboa Pride 2019 / Facebook ILGA
Lisboa Pride 2019 / Facebook ILGA

The streets of the capital were filled with colour again on 29th June 2019 for the second edition of Lisbon's LGBTI+ Pride March. This Saturday 6th July 2019, it will be Madrid's turn to celebrate Gay Pride, and idealista will be there proudly flying the rainbow flag from their parade float at the pro-diversity demonstration.

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