The Gay Prime Minister Playing It Straight: An Intro to Gabriel Attal

By Danny Tye

In his debut piece for GAY45, editorial intern Danny Tye explores the rise and the complex emotions brought about by the appointment of Gabriel Attal, France’s first gay Prime Minister, to the French Premiership. Is this the straight-forward representation-politics victory that it has been celebrated as in the media, or does Attal’s track record spell potential problems for queer liberation in France?

Attal flanking French President Emmanuel Macron.

French politics has returned to international headlines this month with the appointment of a new Prime Minister, 34 year-old Gabriel Attal. While French media focussed principally on his youth –– Attal is the youngest person ever to serve as French Premier –– much of the discussion of his appointment worldwide centred on the repercussions of his status as France’s first gay Prime Minister. “Homophobes, gird your loins and clutch your pearls,” one American publication declared, “The gays are taking over the world!” 

But how did Attal end up holding the reins of power? He had spent 10 years as a member of Parti Socialiste when he jumped ship to Macron’s liberal-centrist big tent party Renaissance – then known as En Marche! – in 2016.  Soon after, he was elected to the National Assembly, rising to the position of Secretary of State for National Education and Youth in 2018, becoming minister for the same portfolio last year. His whirlwind ascendancy through the ranks of the Fifth Republic broke several records: he was the youngest person to become a member of government, then the youngest person to become education minister, and now the youngest Prime Minister. 


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