While speaking to Miriam O’Callaghan today, Varadkar said: “I am a gay man, it’s not a secret, but not something that everyone would necessarily know but isn’t something I’ve spoken publicly about before.”
He added, “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”.
Leo Varadkar admitted that he came out for personal and political reasons, explaining that he didn’t want voters to think that he had a “hidden agenda” in relation to the upcoming same-sex marriage referendum in May.
The 36-year-old TD for Dublin West, told Miriam O’Callaghan that he only realised he was gay in recent years, as he was career driven and never gave much time to his personal life.
“I didn’t give much time to my personal life at least until the last couple of years,” he said.
“All my friends are getting married and having kids – I always thought I’d be alone.”
The politician continued, saying that he will not let his sexual orientation dictate decisions made on political issues such as the ban on gay men giving blood, and ensured that all decisions will be made in the public interest.
Fellow politicians Jerry Buttimer and John Lyons both tweeted their congratulations to the TD.
Many LGBT groups have commended him for his coming out. “Minister Varadkar’s interview today sends a very strong signal that LGBT people can aspire to and achieve the highest political office in Ireland,” said Kieran Rose, chair of GLEN.
“Whether you are a cabinet minister or a young gay person doing your Leaving Certificate, it takes courage to talk openly about who you are. Minister Varadkar talking openly about being gay will be a very important source of support for LGBT people and for their parents and families.”
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