Invisible women

By Audrey Somnard Switch to French for original article

Luxembourg, a safe haven for the LGBTIQ+ community? If you go beyond the media coverage showing Prime Minister Xavier Bettel and his husband Gauthier Destenay, the picture quickly becomes more nuanced. On the International Day of Lesbian Visibility, we wanted to meet those who remain very discreet, maybe too discreet. There appears to be a lack of visibility that each interview partner talks about, without anyone wanting to put themselves forward. All the testimonies are anonymous.

The picture made the news worldwide. Gauthier Destenay in the middle of the “First Ladies” during a NATO summit in 2017. An unexpected “publicity” for the Grand Duchy which appeared as a very “gay friendly” country. If gays are well represented and are displayed in the highest spheres of government, what about lesbians? The Pink Ladies collective issued a press release earlier this month to complain about the lack of visibility of lesbians in our society. We have to admit that they are right. Tilly Metz, MEP (déi gréng), is one of the rare examples in the public sphere.

This lack of role models makes it difficult to walk the streets openly with a partner without feeling a bit of tension. Metz is not the first to break the glass ceiling: Unofficially Colette Flesch did it in her time, but without ever talking publicly about her sexual orientation. As she tells us by phone, the former MP (DP) has never wanted to talk about her private life and doesn’t plan to start anytime soon. She says she has “never hidden, nor flaunted” and will not say more. They are not of the same generation, but politicians like Xavier Bettel or Etienne Schneider have never had to hide their private lives, let alone their partners.

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Engines of society - Yolande Koster-Kaiser