Openly gay Prime Minister Xavier Bettel is being called on to discuss LGBTI rights with Russia’s President Vladimir Putin when he meets with him in the next few weeks.
Xavier Bettel became the first openly gay Prime Minister of Luxembourg on 4 December 2013. He has previously served as Mayor of Luxembourg City, member of the Chamber of Deputies and member of the Luxembourg City communal council.
Bettel is the third openly gay head of government following Iceland’s former Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir and Belgium’s former Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo. As of October 2014, he is the only openly gay world leader.
The upcoming meeting will be the first of its kind between the world’s only openly gay political leader and the president of a country that prides itself on banning “gay propaganda”.
In a press conference on the 2nd of September 2015, Bettel said that in conjunction with visiting Ukraine, he would also be visiting Moscow to meet with Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.
Bettel said that he also plans to discuss the Ukrainian and Syrian crises, immigration and terrorism.
The meeting is being carried out as Luxembourg currently holds presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Human rights activists are encouraging Bettel to bring up LGBTI rights when he meets the Russian President.
A spokesperson for a European advocacy group, the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex said,”We encourage all European and international leaders to address the issue of human rights in Russia, and in particular, the very sad situation with LGBTI rights.”
“We would definitely welcome Bettel to raise the issues of LGBTI rights with Putin. For the last few years, Russia has disregarded all calls from human rights organizations and kept their homophobic policies.”
“It is important that everyone who believes in equality keeps up the united front, so if Bettel can bring it up, that would most certainly be welcome.”
Last Updated on Sep 5, 2015