In a rare move for a public official, a French politician has come out as gay in an effort to fight against bigotry.
France’s Digital Minister Mounir Mahjoubi announced his sexuality on Twitter during International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia.
The 34-year-old said that homophobia “sometimes forces us to adapt and lie just to avoid hatred and to live our lives.”
“Homophobia is an ill that eats away at society, invades schools, and poisons families,” Mahjoubi said in his post.
L’homophobie est un mal qui ronge la Société, envahit les collèges et les lycées, contamine les familles et les amis perdus. Pire, elle hante les esprits des homosexuels, et nous oblige parfois, souvent, à nous adapter et mentir pour éviter la haine, pour vivre. #IDAHOBIT2018
— Mounir Mahjoubi (@mounir) May 17, 2018
The minister is the son of Moroccan immigrants and built a successful career in technology before joining President Emmanuel Macron’s campaign.
While he’s not the first French politician to come out, Mahjoubi said he hopes his story will allow people who are not free to be themselves, especially young people, the inspiration to keep going.
“We have to remember the consequences of homophobia in daily life, notably for the young. It has also had consequences for me,” he told Franceinfo radio in an interview.
According to SOS Homophobie, a French gay rights charity, physical attacks motivated by homophobia rose 15 percent from 2016 to 2017.
In the United States, a new survey found that LGBTQ-identifying youth face high levels of stress, depression, and fear due to the challenges they face in their daily lives.