Happy National Coming Out Day!
To celebrate this occasion, I have gathered a list of LGBT politicians who are currently in office. These people in government are the ones who actually have the direct power to make changes in this world. In the United States alone, Bloomberg has stated that there are 500 elected LGBT officials, which is a step in the right direction.
But what about the rest of the world? This list will focus on those leaders outside of the United States who currently hold political office. Some of them even come from more conservative countries, where the struggle of the LGBT community is harder.
1. Andrew Barr
Andrew is Chief Minister of the Australian Capital Territory, is the first LGBT Head of Government of a territory in Australia, and was elected into office in 2014.
He entered political life at a young age, joining the Labor Party when he was eighteen, but he got elected into office at the age of 33, after years of serving as a staffer.
He has been in a relationship with current partner Anthony Toms for the past seventeen years.
Xavier is the highest ranking person in this list. He has served as Prime Minister of Luxembourg since 2013. He is just the third openly gay Head of a national government, after Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, Prime Minister of Iceland, and Elio Di Rupo, Prime Minister of Belgium. He is also currently the lone, openly gay world leader.
Same-sex marriage in his country was ratified under his leadership on January 1, 2015. He, then, married his partner a few months later on May 15, 2015, becoming the second head of government to marry someone of the same gender while he is in office and the first EU leader to do so. Now that is someone breaking a lot of barriers!
3. Scott Brison
Scott is currently the President of the Treasury Board of Canada. It is a ministerial position in the government of Canada, and he is the sixth highest ranking member of Justin Trudeau's Cabinet.
He is Canada's first openly gay cabinet minister, but he did not achieve this with his current position. He reached that milestone earlier in 2004 when he was named Minister of Public Works.
He was married to his partner Maxime Saint-Pierre on 2007; they have two daughters born via surrogacy.
4. Lynne Brown
Lynne is South Africa's Minister of Public Enterprises under President Jacob Zuma. Previous to that, she was Minister of Economic Development and Tourism.
She is not only the first openly LGBT person to be appointed as a Minister in South Africa -- she is also the first gay person to be appointed to a Cabinet-level position in the entire continent of Africa!
Now this is something unique -- a political-celebrity LGBT power couple. Liza was appointed by Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte as the Chair of the Film Development Council of the Philippines, while her spouse Aiza was named Chair of the National Youth Commission.
Both assumed their positions on August of 2016. Aiza initially came out as a lesbian but now identifies as a transgender man. He started out as one of the Philippine's most beloved child stars before transitioning as a singer-songwriter. Liza, meanwhile, was a beauty queen and a multi-award-winning actress. They have no prior political experience before their respective appointments.
They were married in 2014 in California since same-sex marriage is not legal in the Philippines.
Justine is the Secretary of State for Education in the United Kingdom; Prior to that, she was Secretary of State for Transport.
She officially came out in June 2016 via her Twitter account and said that she was in a "happy same-sex relationship". Her revelation made her the United Kingdom's first openly gay or bisexual cabinet minister.
Edgars is the Minister of Foreign Affairs for Latvia; as such, he holds one of the highest ranking positions within the government.
In 2014, he announced via his Twitter account that he is gay. This makes him the first out gay lawmaker and minister in Latvia. He is also considered to be the most prominent and highest ranking out gay politician within the former Soviet bloc.
Etienne is the Deputy Prime Minister of Luxembourg, making him the second highest ranking official in the small European nation. He serves under Xavier Bettel, who is number two on the list and is the Prime Minister.
This marks Luxembourg as the first nation wherein the two highest ranking government officials are both gay. Can you imagine that happening anywhere else?
Audrey Tang is not only a politician but also a genius computer programmer and was named as one of the "ten greats of Taiwanese computing".
She is a transgender woman and, in August 2016, was named a Minister without portfolio in the Government of Taiwan.
There you go: ten LGBT politicians making strides in the world today. Hopefully, they might inspire LGBT people to strive to hold a government position and to teach others that a person's sexual orientation does not mean that they can't hold high political office.