Five openly gay elected leaders

(L-R) Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Belgian PM Elio Di Rupo, former Iceland PM Johanna...

(L-R) Houston Mayor Annise Parker, Belgian PM Elio Di Rupo, former Iceland PM Johanna Sigurdardottir and Luxembourg PM Xavier Bettel. (REUTERS)

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With World Pride week going on in Toronto, we look at five prominent political leaders who were elected as openly gay public figures. 


PRIME MINISTER OF BELGIUM

Born to Italian immigrants in the French-speaking part of Belgium, Elio Di Rupo was a university lecturer in chemistry before entering politics. While serving as Vice-Prime Minister of Belgium in 1996, Di Rupo came out to the media during an alleged sex scandal in which he was fully exonerated. Di Rupio’s popularity did not wane after the admission. In 2010, Di Rupio’s party fared well in the general election with Di Rupio being named the new Prime Minister of Belgium.


Belgian Prime Minister Elio Di Rupo in Brussels, May 25, 2014. (REUTERS/Laurent Dubrule)

Kingdom of Belgium
Area: 30,528 km
Population: 11,099,000


PRIME MINISTER OF LUXEMBOURG

Luxumbourg’s Xavier Bettel studied political science and maritime law before becoming a TV talk show host. Originally involved in municipal politics, the long-time openly gay Bettel become mayor of Luxumbourg City in 2011. In 2013, he moved into federal politics and soon became Prime Minister of Luxembourg.


Luxembourg's Prime Minister Xavier Bettel in Brussels May 27, 2014. REUTERS/Francois Lenoir

 Grand Duchy of Luxembourg
Area: 2,586
Population: 549,000


PRIME MINISTER OF ICELAND

A former airline attendant, Johanna Sigurdardottir was active in trade unions before becoming involved in politics in her native Iceland in the 1970s. From 1970-87, Sigurdardottir had a husband with whom she had two sons. After her divorce, she entered a civil union with Jonina Leosdottir, whom she eventually married in 2010. One year later Sigurdardottir was elected Prime Minister of Iceland. Her term ended in May 2013.


Iceland's Prime Minister Johanna Sigurdardottir in Riga, February 28, 2013. REUTERS/Ints Kalnins

Iceland
Area: 103,001 km2
Population: 325,000


MAYOR OF HOUSTON

Born and raised in Houston, Annise Parker worked in the oil and gas industry before entering municipal politics in the 1990s. In 1997, Parker become Houston's first openly gay elected official. After serving many years as the city’s controller, Parker ran for mayor in 2009 and won. After the election she joked that she was "very proud to have been elected the first ... graduate of Rice University to be mayor of Houston."


Houston Mayor Annise Parker speaks in Los Angeles, March 8, 2014. REUTERS/David McNew

City of Houston
Area: 1,625 km2
Population: 2,160,000


PREMIER OF ONTARIO

Prior to coming out as gay in 1990, Kathleen Wynne had been married to Phil Cowperthwaite with whom she has three children. In 2000, Wynne was elected as Toronto school trustee. In 2003, she made the move to provincial politics getting elected as an MPP. In 2013, Wynne was elected leader of the Ontario Liberal party thus becoming premier of a minority government. In June 2014, she led her party to a majority in the provincial election.


Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne on June 18, 2014. (Veronica Henri/QMI Agency)

 Province of Ontario
Area: 1,076,395 km2
Population: 12,851,000


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