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Luxembourg’s leader, the first openly gay head of state to speak at UN, calls for end to hate speech


The prime minister of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel, became the first openly gay head of government to speak about LGBTQ rights at the United Nationals General Assembly.

Bettel, a 46-year-old politician who’s serving his second term as the prime minister for the small western European nation, used the historical moment to speak out against hate speech, and to call on the global community to act.

The world needs more kindness, respect and acceptance. Glad to be part of the #TurnOffTheHate initiative and hope that many more will follow.

“Being gay is not a choice, but not accepting it is a choice,” said Bettel, one of three openly LGBTQ world leaders, along Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic, according to Reuters.

“Homophobia is a choice and we have to fight against it,” added Bettel, who in 2015 became the first serving leader in the European Union to marry a person of the same sex, when he married Gauthier Destenay, a Belgian-born architect.

“I never wanted to be the gay prime minister. But I am the prime minister and I am gay,” said Bettel, who urged other nations to do their part to combat anti-LGBTQ hate.

“We are all part and we all have a responsibility,” Bettel said during a core event that focused on fighting anti-LGBTQ hate speech in social and traditional media, according to the Washington Blade.

“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.”

Former president of Chile Michelle Bachelet — the current UN high commissioner for human Rights — also spoke at the Turn Off The Hate event, which focused on LGBTQ equality. It was co-hosted by Luxembourg, Argentina and the Netherlands.