Thursday, January 30, 2014

January 30

...with a side of boots:

Klaus Wowereit: Berlin's Gay Mayor

Berlin's current mayor, openly gay politician Klaus Wowereit (born 1953), has served as governing mayor of Germany’s capital city since 2001. In coming out publicly prior to the 2001 mayoral elections, he coined the now famous German phrase "Ich bin schwul, und das ist auch gut so" (I'm gay, and that’s a good thing). With his coming out, Wowereit wanted to beat the tabloids to exposing his sexual orientation and prevent them from writing sensational and fabricated stories about his private life. Wowereit said those now famous words during a convention of the Berlin SPD (Germany’s Social Democratic Party). At the end of his speech, there was spontaneous cheering and applause. Wowereit’s civil partner, Jörn Kubicki, is a neurosurgeon, and the pair have been in a relationship since 1993.

Wowereit, who was born in Berlin, has served as President of the Bundesrat (the fourth highest office in Germany), and his SPD-led coalition was re-elected in 2006.  In the 2011 elections he and his party were again victorious. Wowereit’s election as mayor made Berlin one of three major European cities that saw openly gay mayors take office in 2001, along with Paris’s Bertrand Delanoë and Hamburg’s Ole von Beust. Berlin and Hamburg, being the two largest cities in Germany, are also German states in their own right, which meant that both Wowereit and von Beust became state premiers.

Wowereit also served in the Berlin House of Representatives from 1995-2011, and since 2009 has been Vice Chairman of his party, the SPD.

Wowereit with partner Jörn Kubicki (at left):

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