Rafael Correa, elected to a third term as president of Ecuador this week, made a public apology to his country’s LGBT citizens for past comments he has made about them.
Correa had spoken out against gay marriage in the past and had used inappropriate words offensive to LGBT groups last summer.
The president angrily responded to being called a ‘fag’ by a man on the Facebook page of the newspaper El Comercio. He responded by saying publicly: ‘If anyone knows this gentleman let me know. And I’ll invite him and only him to tell me these vicious things face to face. To see who’s the real fag.’
Correa followed up an earlier written apology with comments during his victory speech on Sunday (17 February), according to a translation provided by the site Blabbeando.
‘Once again I’d like to express my apologies to those LGBT groups for some words that might have escaped me,’ he said. ‘Each one of us was born and grew up with stereotypes and stigmas and we have to fight against this type of – let’s call it deformed – social upbringing, etcetera. But our commitment is to defend everyone’s dignity and equality. We are diverse but never unequal.’
He added: ‘I was reminded of this by the leader of a GLBT group who I greatly admire a couple of days ago. You need a lot of courage to lead these type of movements. Let’s offer them all our support and – on a personal basis – I offer my full respect and the effort and commitment to eliminate all types of discrimination in this country.’