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A 38-Year-Old Gay Man Could Be Ireland's Next Prime Minister

Ireland

Leo Varadkar could become Europe's second sitting openly gay leader, joining Luxembourg's Xavier Bettel.

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The 38-year-old gay son of an Indian immigrant has a very good chance of becoming Ireland's first out prime minister.

Ireland's parliament will soon pick the replacement for Enda Kenny, the current P.M., who announced his resignation last month. Leo Varadkar, the current minister for social protection, has the support of the majority of his fellow Fine Gael members of Parliament, reports CNN. Parliament should make its decision by Friday.

Varadkar is a doctor who previously served as the minister of health, and he was elected to Parliament at only 27. Varadkar came out publicly during Ireland's marriage equality referendum in 2015, in which citizens voted overwhelmingly for equal marriage rights.

"It's not something that defines me," Varadkar told an Irish radio channel of his sexual orientation. "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 seen as more liberal than the other person vying to be prime minister, Housing Minister Simon Covenay, but he's not exactly far-left. Past promises from Varadkar included battling welfare fraud and helping small businesses. His immigration stances have been controversial, with him once advocating for the deportation of unemployed immigrants.

Luxembourg is currently the only European country with an openly gay leader, Prime Minister Xavier Bettel. Previous out European heads of government include Elio di Rupo, a gay man who was Belgium's prime minister from 2011 to 2014, and Johnanna Sigurdardottir, a lesbian who was Iceland's prime minister from 2009 to 2013.

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Neal Broverman

Neal Broverman is the Editorial Director, Print of Pride Media, publishers of The Advocate, Out, Out Traveler, and Plus, spending more than 20 years in journalism. He indulges his interest in transportation and urban planning with regular contributions to Los Angeles magazine, and his work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times and USA Today. He lives in the City of Angels with his husband, children, and their chiweenie.
Neal Broverman is the Editorial Director, Print of Pride Media, publishers of The Advocate, Out, Out Traveler, and Plus, spending more than 20 years in journalism. He indulges his interest in transportation and urban planning with regular contributions to Los Angeles magazine, and his work has also appeared in the Los Angeles Times and USA Today. He lives in the City of Angels with his husband, children, and their chiweenie.