in his prime

Prime Minister Xavier Espot Zamora put Andorra on the map with his low-key coming out

Xavier Espot Zamora
Xavier Espot Zamora (Photo: Government of Andorra)

Name: Xavier Espot Zamora, age 43

Bio: Born October 20, 1979, Xavier Espot Zamora is a judge and politician in the European principality of Andorra. It lies between France and Spain with a population of around 80,000, but plays host to around 10 million tourists each year.

Espot gained his law degree and a degree in humanities in Barcelona. As a lawmaker, he served as Justice Minister from 2012 to 2019. He then rose to the position of Prime Minister of the country, leading a liberal-conservative coalition between his party, Democrats for Andorra (DA), and Committed Citizens (CC).

Coming out: Espot came out on September 11 during an interview with the nation’s public broadcaster.

“I’m gay. I’ve never hid it,” he told Radio and Television of Andorra. “Now, if I’m not asked I don’t have to say it, in the sense that it doesn’t define the entirety of who I am and even less my personal politics, but at the same time I think it shouldn’t be a problem to express it.

“And if this helps many children, young people or teenagers who are going through a difficult time see that in the end, regardless of their condition or sexual orientation, you can prosper in this country and reach the highest magistracy, then I am happy to express it.”

You can watch below. Espot speaks Catalan, Andorra’s official language.

Andorra allowed same-sex couples to form civil unions in 2014. It extended marriage rights to gay same-sex couples in 2022. Many of those in civil unions converted them to marriage; however, the topic of Espot’s own sexuality did not come up at the time the law change was discussed.

During his time as Prime Minister, Espot has also seen the implementation of anti-discrimination legislation safeguarding gender identity and expression, This included the establishment of the right for transgender individuals to modify their legal gender status.

LGA-Europe (the European Region of the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex Association) produces a Rainbow Map ranking based on LGBTQ+ rights. Andorra places 24th out of the 49 European countries included in the ranking.

Espot becomes Andorra’s first out, LGBTQ+ premier. He joins a small list of other out-gay political leaders in Europe. This includes the Prime Ministers of ​​Luxembourg (Xavier Bettel) and Serbia (Ana Brnabić). Ireland’s equivalent, the Taoiseach (Leo Varadkar), is also gay, as is the President of Latvia, Edgars Rinkēvičs.

The former Prime Minister of Iceland, Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, became the first out-gay head of government when she took office in 2009.

Xavier Espot Zamora addresses the United Nations, September 22, 2023
Xavier Espot Zamora addresses the United Nations, September 22, 2023

Espot is used to representing his small country on the world stage. He gave a speech last month at the United Nations on the importance of tackling climate change and Andorra’s efforts to become more sustainable. Expect him to step up now as an ambassador for a much more exclusive club: out and proud LGBTQ+ heads of state.

Don't forget to share: