France's Digital Minister Mounir Mahjoubi has come out as gay, saying it was important to speak up on the International Day Against Homophobia as a public figure who has himself suffered prejudice in the past.
Mahjoubi, at 34 one of the youngest members of President Emmanuel Macron's centrist government, tweeted yesterday that homophobia "sometimes forces us to adapt ourselves and lie just to avoid hate and to survive".
Thursday marked the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, and Mahjoubi said today that while he did not want to "make a big deal" of coming out publicly, "if that might help to fight homophobia, I'll do it".
"I think it's important to offer visibility to gay people, but I think everyone should take this step only when they're ready for it," he told the Franceinfo news website.
"He is contributing to the visibility of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people in society and is a positive example for all young gay, bi and trans people in his country," the group tweeted. "Congratulations." Mahjoubi has been in a civil partnership with his partner since 2015 and had posted on Instagram a photo of the couple on the day of the ceremony, before he became a public figure.
"It's 2018, I live my life -- even in public -- in peace," the minister said. But he indicated that he had suffered from homophobic attitudes in the past, without giving details.
"We have to remember the consequences of homophobia in daily life, notably for the young. It has also had consequences for me," he said.
France legalised civil partnerships for gay couples in 1999, followed by same-sex marriage in 2013.
Asked if Mahjoubi had raised the issue with them, he told Franceinfo: "I spoke to them about my husband, who is a wonderful man, as soon as I met each of them.
"It was important because we were part of a new movement and we had to set out how we were going to do this together," he said. "But I can assure you that for each of them, including comments that might have been awkward at the time, there's no issue. They are totally committed to fighting homophobia and today they totally support equality."
A handful of ministers in previous French governments have come out as gay or bisexual, including Frederic Mitterand, nephew of former president Francois Mitterand.
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