- ‘As European affairs minister, I have an additional responsibility. I must fight for tolerance.’
French government minister Clément Beaune has come out as gay and vowed to fight LGBT+ hate in Poland and Hungary.
Beaune revealed his sexuality in an interview with leading French gay magazine TÊTU, which has just hit the newsstands.
And as Secretary of State for European Affairs he’s said he has a ‘responsibility’ to ‘fight for tolerance’.
In particular he says he will visit one of Poland’s controversial ‘LGBT-Free Zones’ in 2021.
Beaune swiftly denounced the zones when he took office, after months where France’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Jean-Yves Le Drian was silent on the issue.
Now Beaune tells TÊTU (translated):
‘I come from a family in which people were deported because they were Jewish, only two generations ago. That resonates with me.
‘However, I would not like it to be said that I am fighting against the “LGBT-Free Zones” because I’m gay. It would be insulting to say that I’m fighting this fight for myself.
‘As Secretary of State for European Affairs, I have an additional responsibility. I have to fight to spread tolerance.’
‘Beatings, violence and rejection exist’
The 39-year-old also referenced the challenge of homophobia and transphobia in France itself. Official and LGBT+ organization statistics show hate crime continues to rise in the country.
Beaune said: ‘The beatings, the violence, the rejection, it exists in 2020.’
However he said it was not ‘indecent’ to talk about his sexual orientation and that being gay ‘is not an obstacle’ to being a government minister.
Beaune has held his role in government since 26 July this year. His particular responsibility is liaising between France and the European Union.
Both Poland and Hungary are EU members but have angered other member states with their anti-LGBT+ policies. Last month the European Commission vowed to do more to tackle the problem as part of its five year LGBT+ strategy.