US no longer LGBT rights world leader, says Leo Varadkar

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has said the US is no longer a world leader in LGBT rights.

Mr Varadkar said he believed the majority of American people would agree with him, even if the Trump administration does not.

The Irish premier made the comments during an interview at the South by South West festival in Austin, Texas.

Mr Varadkar said he would raise gay rights when he has a bilateral meeting with President Donald Trump in the White House on Thursday.

"What I intend to say is that for the vast majority of people around the world including people from gay lesbian transgender backgrounds, we have always seen America as a beacon of freedom," the Taoiseach said.

"This is the land of the free, the home of the brave.

"This is where the LGBT rights movement began."

Leo Varadkar (Niall Carson/PA)
Leo Varadkar (Niall Carson/PA)

He added: "It is really tough to see a country that is built on freedom, and built on individual freedom somehow not being a world leader in that space anymore.

"I actually think on this issue the majority of American people would agree with what I have to say, even if the administration doesn't."

Mr Varadkar added that he hoped America would one day take leadership in the area again.