Today has proven a historic day for Ireland as the country’s parliament elected its 14th head of government. What is especially historic, however, is that Ireland’s new Taoiseach (equivalent to prime minister) Leo Varadkar is now the youngest leader in the country’s history and the first to be openly gay, That’s an enormous achievement for a country where homosexuality was illegal little more than two decades ago. In May 2015, Ireland made another huge stride by becoming the first country to approve same-sex marriage by popular vote.
In modern history, openly gay world leaders are still extremely rare. In 2009, Iceland’s Jóhanna Sigurdardóttir became the world’s first ever openly gay prime minister, followed by Belgium’s Elio Di Rupo. Currently, Leo Varadkar will join Luxembourg Prime Minister, Xavier Bettel, the only other gay world leader currently in office. Of course, down through the years it’s possible that there may have been many more but they were not open about it.