>> Leo Varadkar becomes Ireland’s first openly gay minister
“Je suis homosexuel”, a déclaré ce dimanche, M. Varadkar, dans un entretien avec la Radiotélévision nationale irlandaise, RTE.
“Ce n’est pas un secret, mais pas quelque chose que tout le monde ne sait pas nécessairement, mais pas quelque chose dont j’ai parlé publiquement avant…”
Âgé de 36 ans et né à Dublin d’un père indien et d’une mère irlandaise, Leo Varadkar est considéré comme un possible prétendant aux fonctions de chef du parti de centre droit Fine Gael.
Actuellement au pouvoir, en remplacement du Premier ministre Enda Kenny, il devient ainsi le Premier ministre ouvertement gay de l’histoire de l’Irlande, quatre mois avant un référendum sur le mariage entre personnes du même sexe dans ce pays de tradition catholique.
“Je veux que tout le monde sache que je prendrai toutes mes décisions en fonction de ce que je crois être de l’intérêt public.”
Le ministre a d’ailleurs souligné qu’il ferait campagne en faveur du mariage entre personnes du même sexe pour le référendum de mai prochain.
>> Ireland’s health minister has become the first member of a government in Dublin to declare that he is gay.
Tipped as a possible future prime minister, Leo Varadkar told Miriam O’Callaghan on RTÉ Radio 1 on Sunday morning: “I am a gay man. It’s not a secret.”
His declaration was made just months before a national referendum on giving gay marriages equal status in Irish law. It was also the minister’s 36th birthday and he said he wanted to be “fully honest” with the Irish people.
He said that he had briefed the Irish taoiseach, Enda Kenny, who is his party leader, that he was going to out himself live on radio this morning. “He [Kenny] said it was my private life, it’s a private issue, and none of this was his concern,” Varadkar said.
Varadkar said the taoiseach even asked him if he had visited one of Dublin’s most famous gay bars. “He actually asked me if I had ever been to the PantiBar, and I told him ‘no, I haven’t,’ and he said ‘there you go Varadkar, I’m ahead of you already’.”
He told the programme: “The only worry I have is that people see me differently or treat me differently. I hope they don’t. I am still the same person. To me it is not a big deal, I hope it is not a big deal for people.
“There are people a lot braver than me, but I wanted to do it. I suppose I felt as a public figure I should say it. I want the next generation to feel that they don’t have to do an interview like this.” He added that it was his belief that Ireland was ready to have a gay prime minister.
The Roman Catholic Church dominated Irish politics until the 1980s and the country legalised homosexual acts in 1993, but Ireland has become much more liberal in recent years as the Church’s public influence waned in the wake of a string of child sex abuse scandals.
The National Women’s Council in Ireland was one of the first organisations to praise Varadkar, describing his “brave and sincere interview”.
The Gay Switchboard network tweeted in response to his revelation “Well done. You’ll be an inspiration to others”.
Political opponents applauded Varadkar’s decision to come out. Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, of Sinn Féin, said “fair play” adding that “hopefully 2015 will be another milestone in equality for our LGBT citizens”.