Berlin’s Mayor Declares: “I’m Gay and That’s Okay”

Excerpted from “He’s Gay and That’s OK,” by Benjamin Weinthal, published 8/31-9/6/2006 in Gay City News:

The most popular politician in Berlin is gay. Will he continue to make political history by winning a second term as mayor on September 17? The nation’s first openly gay big city mayor, Klaus Wowereit is running an energetic re-election campaign in the city restored to its traditional role as capital in the wake of Germany’s reunification.

Berlin, of course, is also a city with a lively queer culture.

Wowereit (pronounced vovv-er-ite) catapulted himself into political and gay cultural stardom with his eloquently succinct statement outing himself in 2001. “Ich bin schwul und das ist auch gut so”—”I am gay and that’s okay,” declared Wowereit in a televised speech.

…Wowereit was not the first openly gay mayor in Europe—Bertrand Delanoë was elected mayor of Paris in March, 2001, but the Berliner has helped forge a political climate across Germany which has enabled other leading politicians to declare that they too are gay. That could very well be Wowereit’s greatest contribution so far to power politics in Germany. Guido Westerwelle, the chairman of the Free Democratic Party, outed himself in 2004, and Ole von Beust, the mayor of Hamburg and a member of the conservative Christian Democratic Union (CDU), remained mum when his own father outed him (in a matter-of-fact way). Neither Westerwelle nor von Beust suffered any political fallout.

Continue reading at Gay City News…

This article was posted on Thursday, August 31st, 2006 at 8:58 pm and is filed under Candidates & Elected Officials, Politicians & Public Officials. You can follow any updates to this article through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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