Ian McKellen, one of Britain’s most successful stage and film actors, says Britain is better off within a European Union which has pushed for LGBT equality legislation.
“Now is the time to be backing Europe and giving back that sense of empowerment to countries in the European Union that are still very backward in this regard,” the Lord of the Rings actor said in an interview with the Telegraph. “If you’re a gay person, you’re an internationalist.”
British voters go to the polls in a national referendum on June 23 to decide whether to remain or leave the European Union. McKellen, a vocal advocate of LGBT rights, is also a staunch believer in the European project, having written a piece for the Remain campaign in May to mark International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia.
He expanded his views in that letter saying: “The European Union has played a crucial role in promoting LGBT rights to legal equality in Britain, across Europe and around the world. The EU’s guidelines for supporting human rights call for measures to end discrimination against all LGBT people. The EU funds local groups who are campaigning against homophobic and transphobic violence – many of them at great personal risk.”
Britain will vote on whether to stay or leave the E.U. on June 23.