Gabriel Attal: Who is France's first ever gay Prime Minister's partner Stéphane Séjourné?

After a short stint as Secretary of State at the Ministry of Education, Gabriel Attal was named Prime Minister on 9 January 2024. Everything you need to know about him.

Gabriel Attal first openly gay French Prime Minister
© Christian Liewig - Corbis / GETTY IMAGES
Gabriel Attal first openly gay French Prime Minister

Gabriel Attal has been a figure in French politics since the beginning of the Macron era as he was one of the first to join his ranks. Described as young and dynamic, Attal has managed to quickly climb up the ladder to become one of the major emerging figures on the political landscape.

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On Tuesday 9 January 2024, without much surprise he was appointed Prime Minister replacing the first ever woman to hold that office, Elisabeth Borne, who resigned the day before.

By appointing Gabriel Attal to be Prime Minister, President Macron is making history. Indeed, Attal has just become the youngest person to hold that office but that's not it. He is also the only openly gay person to have done so.

We tell you everything about the man who has managed to reach the top position in such a short time.

Who is Gabriel Attal?

Born on March 16, 1989, in Clamart, Gabriel Attal is a French politician belonging to the Renaissance party (previously known as La République en Marche). The 34-year-old studied at Assas (a reputable law school) and then Sciences Po (France's leading university in the social and political sciences) before starting a career in politics.

Since the beginning of his career he has held several government posts: a government spokesperson, Minister of Public Action and Accounts, and in July 2023 Secretary of State at the Ministry of Education.

Though he is now a top dog in Emmanuel Macron's government, when he was 17 he joined the Socialist Party. Now, far from the leftist ideas, Attal is know as 'one of Macron's savviest cabinet ministers and a smooth communicator.' Since he joined the government Attal is the man sent on TV shows to share the government’s ideas.

In 2023, Attal created a lot of controversy in France when, as part of one of his first moves as Secretary of State at the Education Ministry he decided to ban 'the Muslim abaya dress in state schools'. That took him even further away from his initial socialist ideas, as this choice led to many conservatives supporting him.

Gabriel Attal's civil partnership

When the news broke on 9 January 2024, France gained its first openly gay Prime Minister. However, this piece of information about his private life wasn't shared willingly by Attal. Indeed, in 2018 he was violently outed by a former Sciences Po classmate, lawyer Juan Branco, in his book Crépuscule.

In Branco's book, the lawyer claimed that Gabriel Attal had 'slept his way to the top' since he 'entered a civil partnership with Macron's political advisor'. The political advisor referred to here is Stéphane Séjourné. The two lovers met at a business meeting in Bercy in 2015, as revealed by a witness present that day in Le Monde. Their love affair has now lasted for eight years.

In 2019 Attal responded to his former classmate in the French tabloid Closer saying:

That didn't keep me awake at night. When we were in school, he was already running a skyblog where he insulted me. I'll leave him to his obsessions and lies

In Libération the new Prime Minister continued to talk about his outing. He explained:

One thing that hurt me was Juan Branco's attack on my father. He died very brutally three years ago... from lightning cancer... Saying bad things about him, saying that I was relieved he was dead so that I could live my homosexuality..."

In his interview, Attal added that he had spoken about his homosexuality with his father while he was in the hospital. Talking about coming out to his dad, the Prime Minister explains:

He (his dad) replied: 'Is that what you're telling me now? I understood. I hope I'll be out by the end of the week. That way, you can invite him to brunch on Sunday,

Who is Stéphane Séjourné?

The 38-year-old was born on 26 March 1985 in Versailles. He grew up abroad, in Madrid and Buenos Aires. After passing his baccalauréat in Argentina, he studied law in France at the University of Poitiers, before becoming an advisor to Emmanuel Macron at the Ministry of Economy and helping to launch 'Jeunes avec Macron' and then the En marche party (now Renaissance).

He remained at the Élysée until 2018, before becoming a Member of the European Parliament the following year in 2019. He has chaired the Renew Europe group since 2021. After holding strategic positions within the European Union, Stéphane Séjourné returned to the government, this time as advisor to the French President.

This article has been adapted from Oh!MyMag France

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