Ireland has a gay Prime Minister. Don’t you wish you did?
Leo Varadkar (born 1979) is the youngest Taoiseach* in the history of Ireland. He is just 38-year-old. Plus, he is the first openly LGBTQ person and the first person of an ethnic minority (he is part-Indian) to lead the Irish government. He is the fourth openly gay world leader, after Belgium, Iceland and Luxembourg.
Varadkar previously served as the Minister for Social Protection (Welfare) and Minister for Health, and he was first elected to parliament when he was 27-years-old.
On election day in June 2017, Varadkar said:
“If my election has shown anything, it is that prejudice has no hold on this republic.”
In 2015, Varadkar spoke publicly for the first time about being gay:
“It’s not something that defines me. I’m not a half-Indian politician, or a doctor politician or a gay politician for that matter. It’s just part of who I am, it doesn’t define me, it is part of my character I suppose.”
Varadkar is pro-environment and anti-BREXIT; personally he is anti-abortion, but politically he is pro-choice. He is in favor of a soft border between Ireland and Northern Ireland, and he was a prominent advocate of the same-sex marriage referendum. In 2015, Ireland became the first country to gain Marriage Equality with a popular vote.
He is also taking on the issue of Sexual Harassment in his country:
“I think it would be right and appropriate for people who have been sexually harassed to come forward. That requires a degree of bravery, of course, but also it empowers other people to do the same, maybe people who were afraid to do so in the past, when they see others coming forward, well then, they will be encouraged to do so as well.”
His partner is Matthew Barrett, who, like Varadkr, is a medical doctor. Varadkar studied medicine at Trinity University in Dublin. Both men are fitness nuts. Prior to the election, Varadkr stated that he would not expect Barrett to accompany him on official government business (the couple are not married).
Varadkar is currently one of two openly gay world heads of state; Prime Minister of Luxembourg Xavier Bettel is the other. Other previous world leaders were former Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo and former Prime Minister of Iceland Jóhanna Sigurõardóttir.
*Taoiseach means “chieftain” or “leader” in Irish. The word was adopted in the 1937 Constitution of Ireland as the title of the “head of the Government, or Prime Minister”.