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Luxembourg’s trailblazing gay prime minister Xavier Bettel admitted to hospital with COVID

Maggie Baska July 5, 2021
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Xavier Bettel

Luxembourg's prime minister Xavier Bettel talks to journalists as he arrives on second day of a European Union summit on 25 June 2021. (Photo by OLIVIER MATTHYS/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

Luxembourg’s trailblazing gay prime minister Xavier Bettel has been admitted to hospital “as a precaution” a week after testing positive for COVID-19.

An official statement by the government on Sunday (4 July) said Bettel will have “supplementary tests and analysis” as a precaution. It added he will stay under observation for 24 hours.

Bettel, who is the first openly gay premier ever re-elected for a second term, tested positive on 27 June. Sky News reported Bettel began a 10-day isolation period shortly after the diagnosis, which came after a European Council summit in Brussels where he met other European Union (EU) leaders.

The outlet said Bettel was only experiencing mild symptoms at the time such as headache and fever.

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, tweeted her wishes for Bettel’s “speedy recovery”. She wrote: “Dear [Xavier Bettel], I wish you a very speedy recovery and hope to see you soon in good health.

“In the meantime, rest and take good care of yourself.”

Bettel has been the prime minister of Luxembourg since 2013. During his time in leadership, Bettel has continuously spoken out against hate and discrimination against LGBT+ people throughout Europe.

Prime minister of Luxembourg Xavier Bettel speaks to press members as he arrives for the first day of European Union (EU) Summit
Prime minister of Luxembourg Xavier Bettel speaks to press members as he arrives for the first day of European Union (EU) Summit. (Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Bettel and other EU leaders jointly expressed their solidarity with the LGBT+ community and dedication to “fighting against discrimination” in an open letter on 24 June. The EU leaders wrote that they were banding together “in light of threats against fundamental rights” and the “principle of non-discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation”.

“We must continue fighting against discrimination towards the LGBTI community, reaffirming our defence of their fundamental rights,” the letter read.

It continued: “Respect and tolerance are at the core of the European project.

“We are committed to carry on with this effort, making sure that future European generations grow up in an atmosphere of equality and respect.”

The letter came shortly after Xavier Bettel slammed Hungary’s LGBT+ ‘propaganda’ bill

Lawmakers in Hungary passed a bill banning the depiction or discussion of different LGBT+ identities and sexual orientations in school. The law, which was passed in June, also prohibits LGBT+ representation in advertising or media that could be seen by people under the age of 18.

But Bettel told reporters that “being gay is not a choice” ahead of the EU summit. He continued: “You know, I did not just wake up one day after watching some advertising or Modern Family and just become gay.

“That is not how life is. Life is… it is in me. It is not something I chose.

“Accepting yourself is already very hard so being stigmatised is… it is very far-reaching.”

Related topics: COVID-19, Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel

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