Petra De Sutter

Petra De Sutter (Oudenaarde, 10 June 1963) is a Belgian gynaecologist and politician, currently serving as federal Deputy Prime Minister.

Petra De Sutter
Petra de Sutter at ILGA conference 2018 Political Town Hall 06 (cropped).jpg
Minister of Civil Service
Assumed office
1 October 2020
Prime MinisterAlexander De Croo
Preceded byDavid Clarinval
Member of the European Parliament
for Belgium
In office
Member of the Belgian Senate
In office
June 2014 – 2019
Personal details
Paul De Sutter [1]

10 June 1963 (1963-06-10) (age 58)[2]
Oudenaarde, Belgium
Political partyGroen
Alma materGhent University

A member of the Groen party, she was previously a Member of the European Parliament from 2019 until 2020, when she was named Deputy PM with the responsibility of overseeing Belgium's public administration and public enterprises in Alexander De Croo's government.[3] She is the first transgender minister in Europe.[4]

Before entering into politics, she worked as professor of gynaecology at Ghent University, serving as head of the Department of Reproductive Medicine at Ghent University Hospital (UZ Gent).[2][5]

Early life and educationEdit

De Sutter was born in Oudenaarde, in the Flemish province of East Flanders, in 1963. She graduated from Ghent University with a medical degree in 1987 and with a PhD in biomedicine in 1991.

Medical careerEdit

After graduating in 1991, De Sutter moved to the United States, spending two years studying oocyte genetics in Chicago. In 1994, she earned a specialisation in gynaecology.[6] In 2000, she was named Professor in Reproductive Medicine at Gent University. In 2006, she was named Head of the Department for Reproductive Medicine of Gent University Hospital.

Political careerEdit

Member of the Senate, 2014–2019Edit

In the 2014 European elections, De Sutter was second on the list for the Flemish Green party. However, while the party gained votes, it missed its hold on an additional second seat. She was subsequently co-opted by her party for a seat in the Belgian Senate.[5] As a trans woman,[2] she became the first openly transgender Belgian to be on a party election list.[7]

In addition to her role in the Senate, De Sutter served as member of the Belgian delegation to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe from 2014 until 2019.[8] As member of the Socialists, Democrats and Greens Group, she was a member of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Displaced Persons; the Committee on Rules of Procedure, Immunities and Institutional Affairs; the Sub-Committee on Integration; the Sub-Committee on Public Health and Sustainable Development; and the Sub-Committee on Ethics. She served as the Assembly’s rapporteur on children’s rights in relation to surrogacy arrangements (2016);[9] on the use of new genetic technologies in human beings (2017);[10] and on the conditions of reception of refugees and migrants (2018).[11]

Since her political debut, De Sutter has tackled important issues: a regulation for surrogacy at a Belgian and European level, independent clinical research in the pharmaceutical industry, the risks of TTIP for consumer’s protection of food and chemicals, and standing up for rights for LGBT people.[12][citation needed]

Member of the European Parliament, 2019–2020Edit

Petra De Sutter presenting herself in a video produced by Heinrich Böll Foundation/Green European Foundation.

On 15 September 2018 it was announced De Sutter was seeking nomination as one of the European Greens two lead candidates for the 2019 European Parliament elections, which eventually fell down to the Dutch Bas Eickhout and the German Ska Keller.[13] After joining the Parliament, she chaired the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection; she was the first Green politician in this position.[14] In 2020, she also joined the Special Committee on Beating Cancer.[15]

In addition to her committee assignments, De Sutter was part of the Parliament's delegation for relations with the countries of South Asia (Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka). She was also a member of the European Parliament Intergroup on LGBT Rights[16] and co-chaired the MEPs Against Cancer group.[17]

In December 2020, De Sutter received the Justice & Gender Equality award at The Parliament Magazine's annual MEP Awards, in recognition of her work as an MEP on sexual and reproductive rights.[18]

Deputy Prime Minister of Belgium, 2020–presentEdit

On 1 October 2020, De Sutter was sworn in as one of seven deputy prime ministers in the government of Prime Minister Alexander De Croo, becoming Europe’s first transgender deputy prime minister, and the most senior trans politician in Europe.[19]

Other activitiesEdit


  1. ^
  2. ^ a b c Petra De Sutter, Elke Lahousse, (Over)leven: mijn strijd als transvrouw arts & politica (2016, ISBN 946041513X)
  3. ^ Barbara Moens (October 1, 2020), Green MEP Petra De Sutter to be named deputy Belgian PM Politico Europe.
  4. ^ Hugendubel, Katrin (1 October 2020). "Belgian milestone: A first trans minister and nobody cares". Politico. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
  5. ^ a b Professor Petra De Sutter aangeduid als gecoöpteerd senator voor Groen, 21 June 2014, Het Laatste Nieuws
  6. ^ ""Women are conditioned not to believe in themselves"". 20 February 2019.
  7. ^ "Petra De Sutter is eerste transgender op kieslijst". Het Nieuwsblad (in Dutch). Retrieved 2019-11-20.
  8. ^ "Ms Petra De SUTTER". Parliamentary Assembly. Retrieved 3 October 2020.
  9. ^ Surrogacy: governments should consider drawing up guidelines to safeguard children’s rights, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, press release of September 21, 2016.
  10. ^ Petra De Sutter: “High time for a debate on new genetic technologies” Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, press release of August 3, 2017.
  11. ^ More efforts needed for refugees’ reception on Greek islands Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, press release of July 13, 2018.
  12. ^ "'Wij willen niet getolereerd worden, wij willen respect'". Site-Knack-NL. 2015-05-16. Retrieved 2019-11-20.
  13. ^ European Greens - Support phase Leading Candidates
  14. ^ Maïa de La Baume (January 13, 2020), 20 MEPs to watch in 2020 Politico Europe.
  15. ^ Members of the Special Committee on Beating Cancer European Parliament, press release of July 9, 2020.
  16. ^ Members European Parliament Intergroup on LGBTI Rights.
  17. ^ MAC MEPs in the 2019-24 legislature MEPs Against Cancer.
  18. ^ Johnson, Brian (2 December 2020). "MEP Awards 2020: Reaction and comment from our winners". The Parliament Magazine. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  19. ^ Oscar Lopez (October 1, 2020), Belgium appoints Europe's first transgender deputy PM Reuters.
  20. ^ Friends of Europe appoints 29 new members to its Board of Trustees Friends of Europe, press release of June 25, 2020.