Belgium’s gay Prime Minister: My country has become less not more tolerant
The Belgian prime minister Elio Di Rupo, who is openly gay, has said that he feels that his country has become a less tolerant place over recent years.
Mr Di Rupo, was sworn in as the Belgian prime minister a year ago, leads a coalition of socialists, Christians and Liberal Democrats.
He told Belgian newspaper De Morgen: “I feel that different groups in our country are opposed to freedom.
“Over the past three to four years, the atmosphere has been less free. There have been several victims.”
The prime minister spoke as the city of Antwerp prepares to host the OutGames next year.
The prime minister pointed out that the country “is an international example as one of the first countries to introduce gay marriage and anti-discrimination laws” but that “we must continue to work on tolerance and remind everyone that we have laws.”
Last year, he became just the second openly gay head of government in the world and the first openly gay male head of government.
In 2008, he described himself in an interview as an “atheist, rationalist and free mason”, and said his life had been “a fairy tale”.
He came out in 1996 when he was accused, wrongly, of having had sex with a male minor. A journalist said: “They say you are a homosexual.”
He replied, “Yes, so what?”
In the interview with Van de Woestyne, Di Rupo described the journalists as being “so surprised they stopped jostling each other”.