As part of my research into the rise of gay men as the new heroes of the right, I interviewed gay model Matthew Chartraire.
Last year, the 23-year-old was voted France's #1 gay model for the magazine Tetu.
However, when Matthieu's sympathies with Marine Le Pen's "right wing" National Front party became public, the magazine received some backlash. Initially, Tetu defended the award, stating that the voting was done purely on looks and not on politics, and that Matthieu only represented himself and not the gay community.
Unfortunately, the magazine has now cut all ties with Matthieu due to his statements on immigration. He was labelled a racist for merely posting a video of a man assaulting a women and saying, "This is why I would vote FN."
It's unusual for a model to publicly support a right wing party. Political opinions on the right can be career suicide for models and actors. And for gay men in general, conservative opinion isn't exactly common either.
I would like to thank Matthieu for speaking openly and honestly with me about the important issues affecting his country and about his personal life. I translated this interview using Google Translate (and my long lost high-school French), so I apologize if anything was lost in translation.
How long have you supported the National Front?
I started to have sympathy for the Front National (FN) when I was a teenager, because as a teenager, they appealed to my rebellious side.
When I was 18 and I started working and paying taxes and rent etc., I became more serious in my support of the FN.
What attracted you to their message?
The National Front is now the only truly oppositional party in France's failed political system.
It is a party that is new and has changed a lot since Marine Le Pen became leader. It is a party which represents French workers, farmers, the unemployed, students, those who struggle daily to earn their salary and often have nothing left over at the end of the month to enjoy!
The FN has become a party of the honest, with members and elected officials who are not professional politicians. This is the strength of the Front National today.
Were you treated differently when people found out about your allegiance?
In the last regional elections, the FN received more votes than any other party. It is a party which is becoming more and more recognized on the world stage.
So I received a lot of support including many Facebook messages thanking me for saying out loud what everyone is thinking but too afraid to say, especially given that I was so young.
Homosexuals gave me special thanks since they elected me Mister Gay France in 2015 despite being aware of my sympathy for the FN.
Of course I received some threats and insults, but we live in a world where it is not easy to swim against the current.
Do you know other gay men who support the National Front? They seem to have a disproportionately large following from gay men. Why do you think this is?
You know, since I've supported the FN I have met more homosexuals than ever before.
The real strength of the FN is that it represents the diversity of France. In France, there are whites, blacks, Asians, heterosexual and homosexuals and the members of the National Front mirror this diversity.
That LGBT groups tend to forget that before being homosexual, we are just people with lives, with history, with projects and ambitions, and we do not define ourselves just by our sexuality!
In France, living standards are falling. Unemployment was traditionally low and now it has reached more than 6.51 million! In many suburbs there is a growing culture of theft, rape and violence. Our police no longer have the power to properly deal with criminals.
There are so many new migrants that we are overwhelmed and no longer have the necessary resources to help refugees properly.
Homosexuals are French first and foremost, and they are becoming aware that the sovereignty of France is in danger, and our freedoms are fading.
Homosexuals are supporting the NF for the same reasons as many other French people. They are exasperated by the establishment and believe Marine Le Pen offers them change.
Why do you think people are so surprised by gay men who support the National Front?
The FN has not always been clear on issues that directly concern homosexuals such as gay marriage or adoption by homosexual couples.
Many members and supporters of the Front National participated in protests against gay marriage, some are attached to the idea that marriage is between a man and a woman, others are against homosexual adoption of children.
I think the diversity of the FN is both a strength and a weakness. We still find today some people who are not very open and not very friendly towards homosexuals. Unfortunately these people are part of the history of the FN and they play into the hands of the Left. Some of the members of the FN distract from the important messages of Marine Le Pen.
In my view, legalizing homosexual marriage is a breakthrough for the country and adoption by homosexual couples is also something great. However I am worried that France is not civilized enough such that the children of homosexual parents will have a good and safe life.
Do you think Europe is becoming more or less safe for gay men?
I believe that Europe has become very stupid!
Two years ago I went on vacation to the US, and I was shocked by the many controls which I faced: passport, customs, systematic verification of bags, visa papers. They wanted to know the address where I was going on my vacation, the duration, the date of return, fingerprinting.
In Europe, we do not have any borders because everyone can come and go as he pleases! Today we do not know who is entering our country and why.
And when Marine Le Pen wants to give more power to border police to ensure better security for the French, which would be no different from the US system, the media in France call her racist!
Do you have any support from the Muslim community?
I do not accept any such "community." I think we are all French.
Some have integrated well, but many do not.
You know, France and its problems may seem alien to you in North America but you should be made aware of the problems we face.
In some districts of Marseille, a beautiful city in southern France, during the Eid al- Kabīr, a Muslim tradition, many of these people butchered live sheep in their back gardens in a manner which is against French law. Many even slaughtered the sheep in their bathtubs!
This is appalling and it does not respect the values of France!
Do you know any gay Muslims?
Yes I know some but they hide, homosexuality is not something good in their culture.
I once went to a Muslim restaurant to eat a kebab with my boyfriend. The waiter asked if we were gay and refused to serve us. I did not refuse to eat with him because he was a Muslim, but he has refused to serve us because we are gay!
This shows the closed mindedness of some people in this community.
How does your experience of "coming out" as gay compare with your experience with being a National Front member?
I never had a very "normal" gay "Coming Out" as I didn't have a traditional upbringing. So "Coming Out" as a supporter of the FN was a much more intense experience.
However, it was not unpleasant, but on the contrary, it felt good to be openly true to my values and find others who share those.
What are your future plans? Do you intend to support NF in a more active way?
I have some contacts with them some high-ranking National Front, but for now nothing very serious.
However, I am open to becoming an elected member of the National Front.