Rachel Dowd, the deputy editor of the gay and lesbian magazine The Advocate , says Sweden is the most progressive nation for gay men and women. "They decriminalized homosexuality in 1944. We didn't actually do that until 2003 in this country," she says. "Like a lot of Scandinavian countries, in Sweden it just doesn't matter if you're gay."
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Scandinavia isn't the only region making strides. During the summer of 2006, 3 million people—straight and gay—hit the pavement in San Paulo, Brazil, in what's been called the largest gay pride parade on the planet.
European voters also said it's okay to be gay when they elected openly gay mayors in both Paris and Berlin. In Oslo, Norway, 20-year-old Marius Svela wore his army fatigues during the "Mr. Gay Norway" competition. With his military comrades cheering him on, he walked away with the title.
Even in places like communist China, where it is estimated 30 million gays and lesbians live, people are becoming more accepting. Recently, a Chinese television show hired an openly gay host.
In the United States, gay and lesbian parents are raising 4 percent of all adopted children. It's also estimated that there are currently 65,000 gay people serving our country in the military. However, civil rights organizations report that in 30 states, employees can still be terminated from their jobs if they're gay.