Gay prime minister of Luxembourg makes landmark speech on LGBT+ rights at UN

Advocates say that this is the first speech at the UN by an openly gay world leader on LGBT+ rights.

Prime minister Xavier Bettel at UN
Image: Brad Hamilton / OutRight Action International

The prime minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel, told the United Nations (UN) that, as an openly gay politician, he could not accept hate speech. Bettel made the impassioned plea to the United Nations saying everyone has a duty in challenging hate speech.

Reuters reports that this is the first speech at the UN by an openly gay world leader on LGBT+ rights, Bettel called on world leaders to prevent freedom of expression from causing harm.

“We are all part, and we all have a responsibility,” the prime minister told an LGBT+ meeting during the UN annual General Assembly.

“This starts from … your politicians but it goes also to a family evening, to dinner with friends, with family. If they have hate speech, you can never accept it.”

Bettel is one of three openly gay and lesbian leaders in the world along with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Serbia’s prime minister Ana Brnabic.

Bettel added that homophobia is a choice and that we must fight against it:

“Being gay is not a choice, but not accepting it is a choice. Homophobia is a choice, and we have to fight against it.”

In February, Bettel confronted Arab leaders of nations which enforce the death penalty for gay sex:

“President al-Sisi (of Egypt) did a speech to ask for more religious freedom,” Bettel told the U.N.’s LGBTI Core Group, whose 27 member countries include Argentina, the United States and Albania.

“I just answered I want more tolerance to women, more tolerance to opinions, but also in … the Arab league, in half the countries I wouldn’t be able to speak because I would be condemned to death,” Bettel said.

The speech was made on the same day that US President Donald Trump told the UN that under his administration, the United States has the back of the LGBT+ community worldwide. Trump said that the US is working with other nations to stop criminalising homosexuality.

In stark contrast to Trump’s claims, GLAAD’s Trump Accountability Project (TAP) has recorded 125 attacks (either in rhetoric or policy) on the LGBT+ community from the Trump administration since entering office 976 days ago.

Yesterday evening (September 24) Nancy Pelosi called for the House of Representatives to move forward with an official impeachment inquiry to remove the president from office.

It follows allegations that Trump attempted to blackmail Ukranian leaders into finding information on Joe Biden’s son, Hunter, during a phone call.

Pelosi called the allegations a “betrayal of national security” and argued Trump “must be held accountable.”

“Today, I’m announcing the House of Representatives is moving forward with an official impeachment inquiry,” she said. “I’m directing our six committees to proceed with their investigations under that umbrella.”

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