Luxembourg prime minister Xavier Bettel blasted Hungary’s so-called LGBT+ ‘propaganda’ bill on Thursday (24 June), speaking of his own experiences of homophobia.
Xavier Bettel, the first openly gay premier ever re-elected for a second term, laced into his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orbán after his ruling Fidesz Party outlawed the “promotion” of LGBT+ lives to under-18s in school materials, advertisements and in the media.
“Being gay is not a choice,” Bettel told reporters ahead of an EU summit where he would come face-to-face with Obrán at the bloc’s top table.
“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,” he added, “so being stigmatized is… it is very far-reaching.”
Hungary has faced international condemnation after adding an amendment to an anti-paedophilia banning the depiction of LGBT+ people to under-18s.
EU leaders issued a thinly-veiled open letter against hate Thursday, a day after the bill was signed into law, that failed to mention Hungary or Orbán by name.
Xavier Bettel was much more direct.
Conflating homosexuality with paedophilia or pornography was wrong, Bettel said, adding that his being gay does not mean he poses a “danger” to others.
“To be nationally blamed, to be considered as not normal, to be considered as a danger for young people – it is not realising that being gay is not a choice.
“But being intolerant is a choice and I will stay intolerant to intolerance, and this will be today my fight.”
Xavier Bettel, who married his husband, Belgian architect Gauthier Destenay, six years ago, joins a growing number of EU leaders who believe Hungary’s anti-LGBT+ bill is out of step with modern society.
Dutch premier Mark Rutte delivered a brutal swing to Hungary as he rallied for the country’s expulsion from the EU altogether over the reviled bill.
“As far as I am concerned, there is nothing left for them in the EU,” he told reporters of Hungary.
“This is such a fundamental point, that if we let that go, we are nothing more than a trading bloc and a currency.”
In Thursday’s open letter, EU leaders jointly expressed their solidarity with the LGBT+ community and continued dedication to “fighting against discrimination”.
“Respect and tolerance are at the core of the European project,” the letter read. “We are committed to carry on with this effort, making sure that future European generations grow up in an atmosphere of equality and respect.”