Ireland’s Youngest, First Openly Gay Prime Minister

Ireland, which made same-sex marriage legal in November of 2015, has now elected Leo Varadkar, an openly gay politician who is the son of an Indian immigrant, as the next prime minister(Taoiseach as the Irish call the position).  He is also one of the youngest ever elected at the age of 38.  He was born in 1979 to an Irish Catholic nun and a Hindu Doctor from Mumbai.  Varadkar, came out just a few months before the vote on same-sex marriage in 2015.  He beat out the challenger in the Prime Minister election, Simon Coveney, who was popular with the conservative, rural areas.  Varadkar faces many challenges ahead, including dealing with Brexit as Ireland is the only country that shares a land border with Britain.

The 38-year old will be only one of two openly gay leaders of countries in the world, the other being Luxembourg’s Xavier Bettel.  In an interview in 2015, Varadkar said, “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.”

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