Every year, during the month of June, the LGBT community celebrates in a number of different ways. Across the globe, various events are held during this special month as a way of recognizing the influence LGBT people have had around the world. As well as being a month long celebration, Pride month is also an opportunity to peacefully protest and raise political awareness of current issues facing the community. Parades are a prominent feature of Pride month, and there are many street parties, community events, poetry readings, public speaking, street festivals and educational sessions all of which are covered by mainstream media and attracting millions of participants (awarenessdays.com).
Let’s take a look at some of the famous political leaders from the LGBT community.
Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, (born October 4, 1942, Reykjavík, Iceland), Icelandic politician who served as prime minister of Iceland from 2009 to 2013. She was the country’s first female prime minister and the world’s first openly gay head of government (Encyclopedia Britannica; image source: ellafestival.com)
Excerpts from: Meet Elio Di Rupo: The Unlikely Man With The Crazy History Now In Charge Of Belgium by Nick Jardine, December 6, 2011, Business INSIDER“As head of Belgium’s new government, Di Rupo becomes Belgium’s first openly gay leader. In 1996, he was accused of having sex and abusing underage males, something that was staunchly denied by Di Rupo. However, it did result in the future leader revealing his sexuality to the press in a candid and theatrical way. Di Rupo was reportedly being followed by a pack of reporters down the street as they quizzed him about the allegations. One apparently shouted at him, “They say you’re a homosexual?” Di Rupo, however, was not afraid to hit back. “I turned around and shot back: ‘Yes. So what?’ I will never forget that moment… For several seconds there was silence… People were so surprised by my reply they stopped jostling each other. It was a sincere, truthful reply.” Di Rupo later told a biographer, according to the BBC.” (image source: onties.com)
Xavier Bettel (born 3 March 1973) is a Luxembourgish politician and lawyer, serving as the 22nd Prime Minister of Luxembourg since 4 December 2013 after succeeding Jean-Claude Juncker. He has previously served as Mayor of Luxembourg City, member of the Chamber of Deputies and member of the Luxembourg City communal council. Following the 2018 Luxembourg general election he became the first openly gay Prime Minister in the world to be re-elected for a second term (“Xavier Bettel”. Ville de Luxembourg. Archived from the original on 19 October 2013., Reuters (4 December 2013). “Xavier Bettel Is Luxembourg’s First Gay Prime Minister,” image source: ictspring.com)
Leo Varadkat by Philip Ryan, 2018 TIME list of 100 most influential people: When Ireland finally decriminalized homosexuality in 1993, the Catholic Church still had a firm grip on the state’s affairs. Divorce was illegal, and its abortion laws were deeply entrenched as some of the most conservative in the West. Twenty-five years on, Ireland is a very different place—symbolized by the rise of its new leader, Leo Varadkar. The openly gay son of an Indian immigrant, Varadkar decided to come out publicly in the run-up to the world’s first marriage-equality referendum. Today the once anti-abortion politician is campaigning to significantly liberalize the country’s abortion laws. Varadkar is now at the center of E.U. negotiations on Brexit, which could have a devastating impact on Ireland’s peace and prosperity. He also faces a major housing and homelessness crisis. The country’s youngest-ever Taoiseach will be judged on how he guides his nation through these challenges (image source: g8fip1kplyr33r3krz5b97d1-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com)
Ana Brnabić (born 28 September 1975) is a Serbian politician who has been the Prime Minister of Serbia since 29 June 2017. She is the first woman and first openly gay person to hold the office.[Surk, Barbara (28 June 2017). “Serbia Gets Its First Female, and First Openly Gay, Premier”. The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331). In 2018, Brnabić was ranked by Forbes magazine as the 91st most powerful woman in the world and as the 21st most powerful female political and policy leader (“The World’s Most Powerful Women in 2018”. forbes.com. Retrieved12 December 2018, image source: balcanicaucaso.org)
Jan Franssen (born 11 June 1951 in Hilversum) is a Dutch politician. He began his political career as an advisor to Hans Wiegel, having previously worked as a history teacher. Franssen was also a city councillor of Nederhorst den Berg, leader of the provincial parliament of North Holland and a member of the House of Representatives(1982–1994). From 1994 to 2000 Franssen was mayor of Zwolle. Finally. he was named King’s Commissioner in South Holland in 2000. He resigned on December 31, 2013. He was made member of the Council of State of the Netherlands the next day. He is the current chairman of the Interprovinciaal Overleg (IPO), that looks after provincial interests. Franssen is openly gay. Jan Franssen is one of three openly gay politicians who served as King’s Commissioner, the other two are: Clemens Cornielje, and Arno Brok (Nieuwjaarsspeech Commissaris van de Koningin”. Provincie Holland Zuie. Archived from the original on 28 July 2011, “Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute: Out Officials”. Archived from the original on 2011-07-25. Image source: YouTube screen grab)
Berlin’s current mayor, openly gay politician Klaus Wowereit (born 1953), has served as governing mayor of Germany’s capital city since 2001. In coming out publicly prior to the 2001 mayoral elections, he coined the now famous German phrase “Ich bin schwul, und das ist auch gut so” (I’m gay, and that’s a good thing). With his coming out, Wowereit wanted to beat the tabloids to exposing his sexual orientation and prevent them from writing sensational and fabricated stories about his private life. Wowereit said those now famous words during a convention of the Berlin SPD (Germany’s Social Democratic Party). At the end of his speech, there was spontaneous cheering and applause. Wowereit’s civil partner, Jörn Kubicki, is a neurosurgeon, and the pair have been in a relationship since 1993 (gayinfluence.blogspot.com Klaus Wowereit)
Carl-Friedrich Arp Ole Freiherr von Beust, generally called Ole von Beust(born 13 April 1955), is a German politician who was First Mayor of Hamburg from 31 October 2001 to 25 August 2010, serving as President of the Bundesrat from 1 November 2007 on for one year. He was succeeded as mayor by Christoph Ahlhaus.( Präsidenten des Bundesrates seit 1949 (in German), archived from the original on 2008-06-25, image sourcd: Korea News Plus)