October 5, 2020 at 11:16 am EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Transgender woman named deputy Belgian prime minister
Deputy Belgian Prime Minister Petra De Sutter. (Photo by Sparrow (麻雀); Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International License)

A lawmaker in Belgium last week became Europe’s highest-ranking transgender politician.

The Brussels Times reported Prime Minister Alexander De Croo named Petra De Sutter as one of his government’s seven deputy prime ministers. The newspaper said De Croo also appointed De Sutter, a member of Groen, the Flemish Green Party, as his civil service minister.

King Philippe on Thursday swore in De Croo’s new government.

De Croo and De Sutter are both from Belgium’s Dutch-speaking region. De Sutter is also a former member of the European Parliament.

“I am proud that in Belgium and in most of Europe your gender identity does not define you as a person and is a non-issue,” tweeted De Sutter on Sunday. “I hope that my appointment as minister and deputy prime minister can trigger the debate in countries where this is not yet the case.”

De Sutter ended her tweet with the hashtag “fight transphobia.”

Carla Antonelli, a trans member of the Spanish Socialist Worker’s Party who sits in the Madrid Assembly, is among those who congratulated De Sutter. ILGA-Europe Senior Policy Officer Cianán Russell echoed Antonelli.

“Congratulations, Petra De Sutter, for constantly showing us a path in which trans people can be people first, valuable as whole persons, with transness as just one piece in the whole,” said Russell in their own tweet.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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