Newly-elected and openly gay Prime Minister of Ireland Leo Varadkar joined Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau at Montreal Pride celebrations over the weekend (19-20 August).
During a three-day visit to Canada, Varadkar is the first foreign leader to take part in a Pride event. Varadkar also marched with his partner Matt Barrett.
The leaders met for talks to discuss a range of issues, including Brexit and abortion, reports the BBC.
Leo Varadkar: ‘The sun is shining!’
Varadkar said: ‘We need to stand up to homophobic bullying in workplaces an schools, we need to make more advances in the area of sexual health; that is a key priority for me at home and internationally.
‘Countries that are progressive, open and diverse, like Canada and Ireland have a responsibility to other people in other parts of the world where equality and equal rights are under threat and the clock is being turned backwards.
‘We need to use our voices to stand up to communities who face real threats and real dangers,’ he said.
When asked if Varadkar was having fun, he said: ‘The sun is shining!’
In a joint press conference after the Pride march, Varadkar said he wanted to introduce a referendum on abortion.
In Ireland, the Eighth Amendment grants a foetus equal right to life as its mother, effectively outlawing abortion.
Varadkar is now in Toronto ahead of talks with business and tourism leaders, as well as a reception with the Irish community.
— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) August 20, 2017