French Official Comes Out: 'I'm Gay and Happy.'

by Kilian Melloy

EDGE Staff Reporter

Thursday December 10, 2020

Clément Beaune
Clément Beaune  (Source:Instagram)

Clément Beaune, France's Minister for European Affairs, revealed in an interview published Dec. 9 that, "I am gay, and I have no problem saying it," Politico reports.

Beaune was speaking to French magazine Têtu when he came out, media outlets said. France 24 noted that "Beaune, who has taken a prominent role in the Brexit negotiations, has not previously mentioned his sexual orientation in media interviews."

However, Beaune said his silence has not been motivated by internalized homophobia. "I'm gay, and I'm happy with that," he told Têtu.

Even prior to coming out, Beaune has been a vocal critic of Poland's so-called "LGBTQ ideology-free zones," an unofficial status that a third of the nation's towns say they participate in. The EU has strongly condemned these zones. Beaune said that he plans to travel to one of those communities in Poland in early 2021.

But, Beaune said, his opposition is not rooted in his own sexuality, Politico reported. "I wouldn't want people to say I am fighting against 'LGBT-free' zones because I am gay," Beaune declared..

"It would be insulting to say I am leading that fight for myself," he went on to say, adding: "However, as European affairs minister, I have an additional responsibility. I must fight for tolerance."

Beaune sent a message to LGBTQ youth in pointing out that being gay has not hindered his career.

He also revealed another reason for his visit to Poland: He intends to "support one of the associations defending abortion rights," which are also under assault in that nation. Polish citizens recently took to the streets to decry clampdowns on abortion, and also to protest police violence.

Poland, along with Hungary, has increasingly made targets of its LGBTQ citizens as its government has grown more authoritarian. The country is majority Catholic, which helps drive anti-LGTBQ sentiment and government action.

The European Union has cut funding to Polish communities that say they are part of the so-called "LGTBQ ideology-free zones," but, Politico noted, the country's government has said it is willing to use its own funds to make up the shortfall.

Last month the EU's executive arm, the European Commission, announced a strategy to combat institutionalized anti-LGTBQ bias in member countries, particularly Poland. The Commission has proposed extending the list of crimes in Europe to cover homophobic hate speech, as well as new laws to guarantee that same-sex parenthood will be recognized across the 27 member nations.

The Commission also wishes to ensure that LGBTQ concerns are better reflected in the bloc's policies.

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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