Leo Varadkar reveals he's been subjected to homophobic and racist abuse

Leo Varadkar reveals he's been subjected to homophobic and racist abuse

TAOISEACH Leo Varadkar has spoken about the homophobic abuse he's received while in office, and particularly since he came out as gay.

He also spoke of how he'd suffered racist abuse due to his mixed race heritage, but admitted he was thankful that he hadn't suffered any physical violence.

"If you're mixed race and if you're a person of colour, you do experience a degree of racism and discrimination," said Varadkar

"If you're a gay man or a gay woman you do experience a degree of homophobia. It's just the way it is.

"I never experienced any violence, thankfully, but it can certainly range from name-calling and things like that as you walk down the street or it can be the kind of stuff you can see for yourself online or it can be just the fact that people treat you differently," he added.

US President Donald Trump during a bilateral meeting with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar at Shannon airport on June 5, 2019

Varadkar mentioned that he's been asked if he was "going back to India", after revealing that his family would spend some time in his father Ashok Varadkar’s native country during the Christmas recess.

"They don't mean it that way but it is a way of thinking," he said.

"I was born in the Rotunda. I'm not from India. People don't hear what they're saying sometimes but I've also never been somebody who goes on about it," he added.

The Taoiseach went on to say that while he's been the victim of abuse, he's suffered far less abuse than many others have in the country, ultimately saying he had "very little to complain about".

"I’ve done well - I've very little to complain about, much less so than other people who I'm sure have experienced the kind of racism I've never had or have experienced the kind of homophobia I've managed to avoid so I don't like to engage in complaining about it or any self pity because I think that's disrespectful to those who've experienced the kind of racism that I could never imagine," he added.

Though Dublin-born himself, Varadkar's father grew up in Mumbai, India, the city where the future Taoiseach completed his internship.

Varadkar spoke publicly about being gay for the first time in 2015 during an interview on RTE Radio.

"It's not something that defines me. I'm not a half-Indian politician, or a doctor politician or a gay politician for that matter. It's just part of who I am, it doesn't define me, it is part of my character I suppose," he said.