With her appointment as Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium, Petra De Sutter of the Green Party has become the first openly trans Minister in Europe. After almost two years without a fully formed Belgian government, a new governing coalition has appointed seven politicians to the post, De Sutter one of them.
On her social media account, the new Deputy Prime Minister shared, “I am proud that in Belgium and in most of Europe, your gender identity does not define you as a person and is a non-issue.
“I hope that my appointment as Minister and deputy PM can trigger the debate in countries where this is not yet the case. #fighttransphobia”
I am proud that in 🇧🇪 and in most of 🇪🇺 your gender identity does not define you as a person and is a non-issue. I hope that my appointment as Minister and deputy PM can trigger the debate in countries where this is not yet the case. #fighttransphobia pic.twitter.com/WdgHu2gyy6
— Petra De Sutter (@pdsutter) October 4, 2020
A long time advocate and activist for better sexual health and trans rights, De Sutter is also a professor of gynaecology and head of the reproductive medicine department at Ghent University Hospital in Belgium.
Speaking of her own journey, De Sutter shared, “I was 40 when I decided to fully become the woman that I always was and because of this decision I lost colleagues, people I knew and even friends.”
However, she stresses, “I want people to talk about me because of my work, because of my political actions. I don’t think your gender, skin colour, religion or sexual orientation should be that important.”
Speaking of what drives her, De Sutter shared in a previous interview: “Not everybody has had the luck in life that I had, in being accepted in my working environment, being accepted by my partner and love. In fact, very few people in my situation had this luck. This is why I need to do something, for those who lacked this luck. I have a very strong feel of justice and find it so unjust that people in the world suffer simply because of who they want to be.”
Following her appointment, she shared on social media, “Last night, alongside 1,000 other members, I gave the green light for the new government. Now, with that government, I can do what is necessary to relaunch our country and work on a new future for all Belgians.”
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