Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau poses for cover of gay magazine Attitude

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has spoken about challenging world leaders over anti-gay laws in a new interview with Attitude Magazine.

The Canadian PM sat down for a cover interview with the British gay magazine, the first world leader to do so.

In his interview, the liberal politician spoke about confronting countries with homophobic laws, saying he has had “candid conversations” with world leaders on the issue.

He said: “There will always be small groups of people who have power, whether it’s religious groups, or political groups, who will protect that status quo and will resist change as it gets closer to them… but I trust people, I trust citizens, and I know that the direction that we need to move is in respectful ways, in meaningful ways [and] is something that we need to keep pushing.

“I think sometimes it takes friends, or allies, or partners, like another country leader, to say: ‘Give your people more credit than you have, and maybe the religious leaders don’t have the kind of impact that you think they have’.

“You need to give people a friendly nudge to move forward in the right direction, and I’m very glad to do it. But, yes, I’ve had some very candid conversations with leaders about the fact that they need to go there.”

He also said LGBT rights cannot be taken for granted.

Mr Trudeau said: “The LGBT+ community has become emblematic of the fight for human rights.

“The fact that so many people have gone for so long feeling that they had to be ashamed, or hide something about their core identity to fit into society is a lesson for everyone to push against. Every time someone says to me, ‘Why do you still feel it’s important to walk Prides?’

“[I say] it’s because there’s so much more to do, and the more that we are exposed to stories that reveal our own biases, the privileges we take for granted, that other people don’t have, the better we’ll be at standing up for other people’s rights and opportunities.”

Speaking about Canada’s liberal reputation, he said: “We should be confident that we’re one of the places to have figured out that diversity is a source of strength.

“We have a positive role to play in the world, we can make positive choices that people can look at.

“People say to me, ‘Oh, you changed Canada in the past couple of years’. I didn’t change anything. Canadians didn’t change when the government changed, Canadians are what they are.”

“On poverty, or activism, or marginalised groups, you have to figure out how to move things forward in a meaningful and incremental way, that leaves a bunch of people impatient, but is done in the right way so a future government isn’t going to be able to turn the clock back.”

Mr Trudeau also confronted allegations that he is too focused on his media image.

Photo: (GEOFF ROBINS/AFP/Getty Images)

He said: “Quite frankly, I give Canadians a lot more credit than some of my political opponents do.”

“Canadians understand the difference between what we do substantively and what ends up being image, and the fact that they’re linked around an authentic person is part of what helps.

“You can’t have image without substance for long; people figure that out.”

Speaking of Justin Trudeau covering the magazine, Cliff Joannou, Editor of Attitude said: “Attitude is honoured to have been invited to join Justin Trudeau at the inaugural Canada Pride event.

“At a time when too many countries in the West face division and conflict, Canada is a shining example of how diversity and inclusion can build a stronger, more cohesive nation.

He added: “Attitude continues to show why it is an important platform to champion LGBT+ rights.”

Trudeau is the latest big name to appear in Attitude, following Prince William.

Prince Harry recently made an appearance at the Attitude Awards.

Earlier this year Canadian PM Justin Trudeau attended a Pride march with his family – and said leaders should be “expected” to march at Pride.

He made an appearance at several Pride events across the country this year, marching alongside his wife and young children.

The leader, who also posed for photos with drag performers at the event, said he is “looking forward” to it no longer being remarkable that he attends Pride events.

Justin Trudeau

He told reporters: “I’ll be the first prime minister to walk in the Pride parade in Halifax, but I’m very much looking forward to getting that over with so there won’t be any more firsts, and that it just be expected that prime ministers, when their schedules allow, march in Pride parades across the country.

“[It’s] not just diversity of backgrounds, but it’s a diversity of everything that makes us different as Canadians and that includes standing up strongly for the rights of the LGBT2Q community.”

Related: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tears up as he apologised for historic convictions for gay sex.