Leo Varadkar, a senior cabinet minister
in Ireland, has come out gay.
Health Minister Varadkar made his
announcement Sunday on state radio, making him Ireland's first openly
gay high-level government official.
“I am a gay man,” he told RTE
Radio 1. “It's not a secret, but not something that everyone
would necessarily know but isn't something I've spoken publicly about
“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, who celebrated his 36th
birthday on Sunday, said he wanted to publicly discuss his sexuality
ahead of a May referendum on whether to extend marriage rights to gay
and lesbian couples.
“There's a referendum on marriage
equality coming up too, and I just want to be honest with people. I
was thinking about the arguments that I might make, and all the
arguments that I was going to make were kind of detached.”
“What I really want to say is that
I'd like the referendum to pass because I'd like to be an equal
citizen in my country, the country in which I happen to be a member
of Government, and at the moment I'm not,” he said.