Leo Varadkar goes global after coming out as gay

Republished from Newstalk 106-108 Logo


The Health Minister’s admission during a radio interview made headlines all over the world

Leo Varadkar goes global after coming out as gayLeo Varadkar. Image: Photocall Ireland

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James Dempsey

14:41 Monday 19 January 2015

Yesterday morning, while being interviewed by Miriam O’Callaghan on RTÉ Radio One, Health Minister Leo Varadkar revealed he is a gay man.

Deputy Varadkar said: “I’m comfortable to talk about it now, wasn’t always – but I have been for the last couple of years.”

“It’s not a big deal for me anymore, I hope it’s not a big deal for anyone else – it shouldn’t be,” he added.

The Fine Gael politician’s interview generated considerable buzz online, with countless comments made on social media. Headlines and column inches have been dedicated to Mr Varadkar’s decision to come out in today’s newspapers, and the news was featured widely on television and radio bulletins.

The news has also been reported all over the world, with the story picked up on various news wires.

In Australia, News.com said that Mr Varadkar’s decision to reveal his sexuality would be “viewed with hindsight as a landmark of social change in a country that, until 1993, outlawed homosexual acts.”

Across the Irish Sea, the story made a big impact on the British media landscape, and was featured in a news bulletin broadcast by the BBC.

The Independent reported that Mr Varadkar was the first minister to publicly identify as gay, and only the second openly gay member of his party. The article also said that Mr Varadkar is tipped as a potential party leader and prime minister.

The Guardian’s Irish correspondent Henry McDonald described the reaction in the country to the news, addinf that political opponents applauded Varadkar’s decision to come out.

In the US, the NPR radio channel also carried the story, describing the Minister as “a prominent, well-known figure in Ireland’s government.” The article went on to describe Fine Gael as a right-of-centre party.

Pink News, a Europe-wide gay news network, congratulated the Health Minister, and made a point of distinguishing him from his Northern Irish counterpart, who described gay pride as “repugnant.”

Kat Callahan wrote: “But I don’t call him courageous for coming out; I call him courageous for holding himself up as the public figure he is and giving up his privacy. I call him courageous for all that will come after. Although a majority of Ireland, including nearly all political parties, is finally ready for change, that doesn’t mean that the minister won’t be targeted. He knowingly stepped into the firing line.”

Finally, the story was also reported in The Times of India and The Hindu – where the focus of the story shifted to Mr Varadkar’s Indian heritage.

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