Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Today in 2011: Elio Di Rupo Becomes First Openly Gay Prime Minister of Belgium

Elio Di Rupo is a Belgian social-democratic politician. He became the Prime Minister of Belgium today, December 6, in 2011, and served until October 11, 2014.

Di Rupo was the first francophone to hold the office since 1979, and the country's first socialist Prime Minister since 1974. He was also Belgium's first Prime Minister of non-Belgian descent, and the world's second openly gay head of government in modern times. 

Di Rupo describes himself as an "atheist, rationalist, and Freemason." He is fluent in Italian, French and English. After becoming Prime Minister, his Dutch had improved to some extent and he was considered by some fans to be 'fluent' in the language.

Di Rupo came out as gay in 1996, and when asked by a confrontational "media pack" if he was gay, he responded, "Yes. So what?" Also in 1996, a male prostitute alleged that while still a minor Di Rupo paid him for sex. This accusation could have meant the end of his political career. Di Rupo denied the accusations and a close investigation showed that he was innocent

He is the first openly gay man to lead a sovereign state, and the first openly gay man to win the position in his own right pursuant to an election.

Since Di Rupo became prime minister, he was one of only three openly gay or lesbian national heads of government, the other ones being Icelandic Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir and Luxemburgish Prime Minister Xavier Bettel.

1 comment:

Isobel Tolley said...

Hang on what about Leo varadkhar?