Every out LGBTQ world leader to date as France appoints first gay prime minister

Left-right: Luxembourg's gay former prime minister Xavier Bettel with partner Gaultier Destenay, Serbia's prime minister Ana Brnabić and France's new gay prime minister Gabriel Attal

France has welcomed its first-ever out gay prime minister in the form of Gabriel Attal, with the 34-year-old joining a small but fast-growing list of LGBTQ+ people have served as heads of state or government in recent years, either as prime minister, president, or something else.

Over the course of history, plenty of kings, queens and even presidents have been rumoured to be LGBTQ+.

However, in the modern era, just nine out gay or lesbian people have held the title of head of state or head of government since Iceland’s former prime minister Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir became the first out and proud world leader almost 15 years ago in 2009 – and all of them are European.

Here are the LGBTQ world leaders, both past and present, you need to know about.

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Out LGBTQ heads of state

These figures are former or current heads of state who publicly identify as LGBTQ+.

Paolo Rondelli – San Marino (April-October 2022)

San Marino’s Paolo Rondelli made history in 2022 when he became the world’s first out LGBTQ+ head of state.

Paolo Rondelli, a white man with grey hair and a grey beard, wearing square metal glasses
San Marino’s former head of state Paolo Rondelli. (YouTube/UDS)

The Sanmarinese former diplomat served as the micro-state’s Captain Regent alongside Oscar Mina for a single six-month term from April to October 2022.

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Edgars Rinkēvičs – Latvia (2023-present)

Edgars Rinkēvičs became the world’s second out LGBTQ+ head of state and first out head of state of a European Union member state in 2023 when he began serving as the 11th president of Latvia.

Edgars Rinkēvičs was elected president of Latvia in 2023 is is currently Europe's only gay head of state
Edgars Rinkēvičs was elected president of Latvia in 2023.(Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty)

While serving as foreign minister, Rinkēvičs became the first Latvian lawmaker to come out publicly with a post on X (formerly know as Twitter) in 2014.

Out LGBTQ prime ministers and heads of government

These politicians are either former or current heads of government who publicly identify as LGBTQ+.

Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir – Iceland (2009-2013)

The leader of the Iceland’s Social Democratic Alliance, Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir Iceland’s prime minister 2009 following the 2008 financial crisis, becoming the world’s first out LGBTQ+ head of government in the process.

Ms Sigurdardóttir has two children by her ex-husband Þorvaldur Steinar Jóhannesson, and entered a civil union with author Jónína Leósdóttir in 2002.

Iceland's first out gay Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurdardottir attends press conference during the Nordic and Baltic Council in Stockholm October 26, 2009. AFP PHOTO OLIVIER MORIN (Photo credit should read OLIVIER MORIN/AFP via Getty Images)
Iceland’s former prime minister Jóhanna Sigurdardottir became the world’s first out gay head of government in 2009 (Oliver Morin/Getty)

Her sexuality was common knowledge in Iceland, but was largely un-remarked upon in the country despite attention internationally.

The Icelandic leader was widely respected for pioneering a number of reforms during her time in office, implementing same-sex marriage back in 2010 and becoming one of the first people to take advantage of the new law.

She retired from politics in 2013, opting not to stand for re-election.

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Elio Di Rupo – Belgium (2011-2014)

Elio Di Rupo became the first out gay man to lead a country in 2011, heading up a coalition government after a year and a half in which no government could be formed.

His private life was called into question years earlier in 1996, when he was falsely accused of having had sex with underage males.

The leader – seldom seen without his signature bow tie – came out when a heckling journalist shouted: “They say you are a homosexual.”

Belgian Socialist Party chairman Elio Di Rupo delivers a speech at the commemoration of the 130th anniversary of socialist pary Parti Ouvrier Belge (POB) at the City hall on April 4, 2015, in Brussels. AFP PHOTO / BELGA / NICOLAS MAETERLINCK (Photo by NICOLAS MAETERLINCK / BELGA / AFP) (Photo by NICOLAS MAETERLINCK/BELGA/AFP via Getty Images)
Elio Di Rupo served as prime minister of Belgium from 2011-2014. (Getty)

Mr Di Rupore recalled: “I turned around and shot back: ‘Yes. So what?’ I will never forget that moment… for several seconds there was silence.

“People were so surprised by my reply they stopped jostling each other. It was a sincere, truthful reply.”

By the time Mr Di Rupo came to power, the country had already had gender recognition laws, same-sex marriage, and LGBT adoption for several years.

The Belgian leader served just one term as prime minister, and was ousted in the 2014 elections.

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Leo Varadkar – Ireland (2017-2020; 2022-present)

Leo Varadkar has served as Ireland’s Taoiseach since December 2022, having previously held the position from 2017 to 2020.

Ireland’s first out gay head of government came out publicly in 2015 ahead of the country’s equal marriage referendum, making him the first Irish minister to do so at the time.

Irish Taioseach Leo Varadkar gives a press conference about the Brexit at the European Commission headquarters in Brussels on February 6, 2019.
Leo Varadkar has served as Ireland’s Taioseach twice since 2017. (Getty)

“It’s not something that defines me”, Varadkar said at the time. “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.”

Xavier Bettel – Luxembourg (2013-2023)

Xavier Bettel was elected leader of Luxembourg’s Democratic Party in 2013, and became Prime Minister the same year after brokering a coalition with out gay Socialist leader Étienne Schneider, who became his deputy prime minister.

Bettel and Schneider made Luxembourg the first country to have a gay prime minister and gay deputy prime minister at the same time.

Under Bettel’s leadership, Luxembourg passed equal marriage by a landslide vote of 56-4, and the law came into effect in 2015 with remarkably little fanfare.

Luxembourg's gay Prime Minister Xavier Bettel attends a joint press conference with the German Chancellor at the chancellery in Berlin, on February 13, 2019.
Xavier Bettel served as prime minister of Luxembourg for almost a decade from 2013-2023. (Getty)

Bettel one of the first people to take advantage of the changes in May 2015, marrying his long time partner Gauthier Destenay in a private ceremony with a strict ban on press.

Bettel endured a homophobic tirade from a notoriously homophobic Greek MP in 2014, when the far-right politician branded Mr Bettel and his partner “f****t mates” on X (formerly known as Twitter).

Ever the diplomat, the Luxembourgish leader replied: “Hello, I heard you want to tell me something, but I don’t speak Greek. Sorry.”

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Ana Brnabić – Serbia (2017-present)

Serbian prime minister Ana Brnabić became the country’s first out gay head of government in 2017, a year after she became the socially conservative country’s first out gay cabinet minister.

Despite being a lesbian, Brnabić’s appointment was criticised by some LGBTQ+ groups due to the otherwise right-wing nature of Serbia’s government under president Aleksandar Vučić.

Ana Brnabic
Ana Brnabić has been prime minister of Serbia since 2017. (Getty)

Brnabić became the first Serbian prime minister to attend a Pride parade in 2017, but in the same year stated that while she was a part of “change” in Serbia, she did not “want to be branded ‘Serbia’s gay PM'”.

In 2018, Brnabić made headlines after she called out a fellow cabinet minister for his homophobic remarks, and the following year she became the first out LGBTQ+ to become a parent while in office when her partner, Milica Đurđić, gave birth to a son named Igor.

Despite having an out gay prime minister, Serbia has made little progress on LGBTQ+ rights during Brnabić’s time in office.

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Xavier Espot Zamora – Andorra (2019-present)

Andorra’s prime minister Xavier Espot Zamaro assumed office in 2019, but only came out publicly as gay in 2023.

In an interview with Radio and Television of Andorra, the country’s national broadcaster, the prime minister said: “[I] never hid it. Now, if I’m not asked I don’t have to say it either, in the sense that it doesn’t define the entirety of my person and even less of my personal politics.

“But at the same time, I think it shouldn’t be a problem to express it.”

Andorra's gay prime minister Xavier Espot Zamora
Xavier Espot Zamora has served as Andorra’s prime minister since 2019. (Georges Gobet/AFP via via Getty)

Zamaro continued: “And if this helps children, young people or teenagers – who are going through a difficult time – [to] see that in the end, regardless of their condition or sexual orientation, in this country you can prosper and reach the highest magistracy.”

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Gabriel Attal – France (2024-present)

Gabriel Attal is officially France’s youngest and first-ever out gay prime minister at just 34. 

In January 2024, French president Emmanuel Macron named the education minister France’s new prime minister. 

Gabriel Attal is France's youngest and first-ever out prime minister.
Gabriel Attal is France’s youngest and first-ever out prime minister. (Julien De Rosa/AFP/Getty)

At just 17, Attal joined the Socialist Party, before he was named a government spokesperson during the pandemic, making him a household name across France.

He later went on to be named a junior minister in the finance ministry and then education minister in 2023. 

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