IRELAND MAY HAVE A GAY LEADER, BUT LEO VARADKAR IS NO FRIEND TO THE MARGINALISED, SAY ANNA MAC CARTHY AND AOIFE O’DRISCOLL
The election of Leo Varadkar as the new leader of Fine Gael has attracted worldwide attention over the past week. Most of the international news media articles have focused on the fact that he is gay and the son of an Indian immigrant. They have marvelled at how ‘holy Catholic Ireland’ could be so enlightened, so modern, so progressive. At home, the reporting has been only slightly more nuanced, with an awkward nod to Varadkar’s conservatism hidden behind sentences trumpeting his election as a testament to the spirit of equality in our little republic. Often times these articles have been hard to swallow.
The international community could be forgiven for celebrating this story because they are possibly assuming that Varadkar is someone who has experience of being an outsider, as a gay man and son of an Indian immigrant, and who may have first-hand knowledge of prejudice, whether racist or homophobic. There seems to be the assumption that someone who might have experiences of difference or of prejudice would have an inherent empathy for others who are different.
Unfortunately, and regrettably, this is not the case. Read more via the Out Most