Tag Archives: gay politicians

Guido Westerwelle, German Vice Chancellor

27 December 1961


Guido_Westerwelle (right)  and partner Michael Mronz  (L)

Guido Westerwelle is a German liberal politician, currently serving as the Foreign Minister and Vice Chancellor of Germany in the second cabinet of Chancellor Angela Merkel (since 28 October 2009). He is the first openly gay person to hold either of those positions. Since 2001, he has been the chairman of the Free Democratic Party of Germany. A lawyer by profession, he has been a Member of Parliament since 1996.

Westerwelle joined the FDP in 1980. He was a founding member of the Junge Liberale, the youth organization of that party, and was its chairman from 1983 to 1988.

Having been a member of the Executive Board of the FDP since 1988, he first gained national prominence in 1994, when he was appointed Secretary General of the party. As such, he was a notable proponent of an unlimited free market economy and took a leading part in the drafting of a new party programme.
In 1996, Westerwelle was first elected a member of the German Bundestag, filling in for Heinz Lanfermann, who had resigned from his seat after entering the Ministry of Justice. In 1998, Westerwelle was re-elected to parliament.
In 2001, he succeeded Wolfgang Gerhardt as party chairman, who however remained chairman of the FDP’s parliamentary group. Westerwelle was then the youngest chairman in the party’s history,
Until 2004 he was not openly gay, although this was fairly common knowledge in the general public. On 20 July 2004, Westerwelle attended Angela Merkel’s 50th birthday party accompanied by his partner, businessman Michael Mronz, thereby tacitly acknowledging that he was gay. It was the first time that he attended an official event with his partner. Today, he is frank about his homosexuality and lives together with his partner Michael Mronz. The couple registered their partnership on 17 September 2010 in a private ceremony in Bonn


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18 October: Tim Gill, Activist/ Political Donor

b. October 18, 1953

Tim Gill founded the highly successful computer company Quark, Inc. and created the Gill Foundation, one of the first major foundations to benefit the GLBT community.
This fight is not just for the long haul. This fight is forever.

Tim Gill got hooked on computers when his high school acquired its first computer. It wasn’t long until he taught himself to create complex programs. Instead of following in his father’s footsteps as a physician as he had originally planned, he majored in applied mathematics and computer science at the University of Colorado.

In 1981, Gill borrowed $2,000 from his parents and started Quark, Inc. The road to success was not without obstacles, but in a few years’ time the company became a leader in desktop publishing software. Gill established a reputation for innovative, socially conscious business practices. His name appeared on the Forbes 400 list of the nation’s wealthiest people.
Gill began to speak out publicly as a gay man in 1992 when Colorado voters passed Amendment 2, which banned laws designed to protect GLBT people from discrimination. In 1994 he established the Gill Foundation with the mission of securing equal opportunity for all people, regardless of sexual orientation or gender expression.
In 2000, Gill sold his interest in Quark in order to devote his energies to the foundation. In 2004, the Gill Foundation endowment was $220 million.

Bibliography:

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Gay Candidate David Norris Wins Irish Presidency Nomination

Will Ireland’s next president be a gay man? A couple of months ago, with David Norris’ campaign apparently dead in the water, it seemed unlikely. However, he has had a dramatic turnaround in his fortunes, and has led in recent opinion polls. In a dramatic last-minute burst to the nomination finishing-line, he secured the backing of Dublin City Council, and with it a place on the ballot.
There’s still the campaign and election to come, of course – but just to have an openly gay man on the ballot, and regarded as a front-runner, is itself a remarkable demonstration of how far acceptance of queer equality has come in this overwhelmingly Catholic country.

Ireland’s most prominent gay rights campaigner has secured the nomination to stand for the Irish presidency after winning the support of Dublin city council.


Senator David Norris, a Trinity College Dublin academic, will stand against six other candidates, including Martin McGuinness, the former IRA chief of staff turned Sinn Féin deputy first minister of Northern Ireland, and the former Eurovision song contest winner Dana Rosemary Scallon.

In a vote on Tuesday night, 13 councillors backed Norris, six opposed his nomination and 11 abstained.

He only needed Dublin city’s backing to put his name forward before Wednesday’s noon deadline for nominations. Under Ireland’s electoral laws potential presidential candidates need either the support of 20 parliamentarians or the backing of four local authorities in order to stand for the poll in October.

Norris said he was “absolutely thrilled and over the moon. I believe I will be the next president of Ireland”.”

and from CNN:

Sen. David Norris completed an extraordinary comeback Tuesday, securing the political backing he needed to get onto the ballot after withdrawing over a sex scandal in August, then changing his mind and jumping back into the race.
He leads the field, according to an opinion poll published in the Sunday Business Post this week, followed by Michael D. Higgins of the Labour Party and McGuinness, the Sinn Fein politician who stepped down as deputy first minister of Northern Ireland to run for president of the republic.
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Sep 28: John Perez, State Legislator and Speaker

b. September 28, 1969

“Yes I’m gay, and I’m a politician. It’s a descriptor. I don’t think it’s a definer.”

John A. Pérez is the openly gay speaker of the California Assembly. He is the first GLBT person of color to hold such a position and only the third out leader of a legislative body in United States history. 
Pérez was born in working-class Los Angeles, the son of Felipe, a Mexican immigrant who was disabled from a workplace accident, and Vera, who directed a community clinic. At age 14, Pérez became politically active, motivated by government cuts in disability payments to his father and in government subsidies to his mother’s clinic.
After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, Pérez spent several years as a labor organizer in Southern California. He served as political director for the United Food and Commercial Workers in Orange County.
Before he held an elective office, Pérez was actively engaged in public service. He was integral in founding California’s statewide GLBT organization, now called Equality California. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush appointed him to the President’s Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS.  Pérez was a gubernatorial appointee to a panel charged with reforming California’s initiative system and a mayoral appointee to the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency.
Pérez was elected to the California Assembly in 2008, winning 85 percent of the vote in his Los Angeles district. Two years later, he was selected as speaker by members of the Democratic Party and formally elected by the Assembly. Assemblywoman Fiona Ma said, “He’s someone who sends a signal to the nation that being gay is no longer a barrier to greatness.”
Pérez is a fan of classical music, art museums and the Los Angeles Dodgers.rs.

Bibliography
“3 Questions for Assemblyman John Pérez.” SFGate. 3 January 2010.
Bailey, Eric, and Shane Goldmacher. “Politics is part of John Pérez ‘s DNA.” The Los Angeles Times.17 December 2009.
Bajko, Matthew S. “Political Notes: Gay Latino labor activist set to make history.” The Bay Area Reporter Online. 10 April 2008.
Dolan, Jack. “John Pérez Sworn in as Assembly Speaker.” The Los Angeles Independent. 1 March 2010.
“John Pérez sworn in as Assembly speaker.” PolitiCal. 1 March 2010.
Zahniser, David. “Villaraigosa’s cousin enters Assembly race.” The Los Angeles Times. 23 February 2008.
Article about John A. Pérez
Videos of John A. Pérez
Websites

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John A. Pérez, State Legislator

b. September 28, 1969

“Yes I’m gay, and I’m a politician. It’s a descriptor. I don’t think it’s a definer.”

John A. Pérez is the openly gay speaker of the California Assembly. He is the first GLBT person of color to hold such a position and only the third out leader of a legislative body in United States history. 

Pérez was born in working-class Los Angeles, the son of Felipe, a Mexican immigrant who was disabled from a workplace accident, and Vera, who directed a community clinic. At age 14, Pérez became politically active, motivated by government cuts in disability payments to his father and in government subsidies to his mother’s clinic.

After graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, Pérez spent several years as a labor organizer in Southern California. He served as political director for the United Food and Commercial Workers in Orange County.

Before he held an elective office, Pérez was actively engaged in public service. He was integral in founding California’s statewide GLBT organization, now called Equality California. Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush appointed him to the President’s Advisory Council on HIV and AIDS.  Pérez was a gubernatorial appointee to a panel charged with reforming California’s initiative system and a mayoral appointee to the Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency.

Pérez was elected to the California Assembly in 2008, winning 85 percent of the vote in his Los Angeles district. Two years later, he was selected as speaker by members of the Democratic Party and formally elected by the Assembly. Assemblywoman Fiona Ma said, “He’s someone who sends a signal to the nation that being gay is no longer a barrier to greatness.”

Pérez is a fan of classical music, art museums and the Los Angeles Dodgers.rs.

Bibliography

  • “3 Questions for Assemblyman John Pérez.” SFGate. 3 January 2010.
  • Bailey, Eric, and Shane Goldmacher. “Politics is part of John Pérez ‘s DNA.” The Los Angeles Times.17 December 2009.
  • Bajko, Matthew S. “Political Notes: Gay Latino labor activist set to make history.” The Bay Area Reporter Online. 10 April 2008.
  • Dolan, Jack. “John Pérez Sworn in as Assembly Speaker.” The Los Angeles Independent. 1 March 2010.
  • “John Pérez sworn in as Assembly speaker.” PolitiCal. 1 March 2010.
  • Zahniser, David. “Villaraigosa’s cousin enters Assembly race.” The Los Angeles Times. 23 February 2008.
Article about John A. Pérez
Videos of John A. Pérez
Websites

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First gay Turk elected to German Parliament (Armenia News)

“Hakan Tas – a journalist and gay rights activists was elected to Berlin Parliament from The Left (Die Linke) party.

In his interview to Turkish Hurriyet Daily News Tas noted that Turkish President Abdullah Gul congratulated him during his visit to Germany.”

“People in Germany are used to gay politicians; the mayor of Berlin is gay, as is Germany’s ministry of foreign affairs. As a rough estimate, we assume that some 8 percent of the 2.5 million Turks here are gay. However, not everyone is open about their sexual identity and this is not an easy thing to do,” Tas said.

He mentioned that about five thousand people joined the annual gay parade held in Istanbul.

Tas characterized the banning the access to two major LGBT sites, the official websites of gay organizations Kaos GL and LambdaIstanbul by the Turkish Parliament as violation of human rights.

“That’s definitely against human rights and it is a big mistake by the Parliament. These are legal associations approved by Turkish authorities. Turkey needs to let its politicians do politics freely.”


Out in Politics: Gay Republican Elected to City Ward.

In an intriguing sign of the times, an openly gay Republican has been elected to represent a ward in Springfield, Illinois.

Cory Jobe, an openly gay Republican, was elected alderman of the Ward 6 in Springfield on April 5, according to the State Journal-Register.

It seems that Republicans don’t want to see gays represented at CPAC – but they’re quite happy to have them elected. Taken together with gay presidential candidate Fred Karger‘s unexpected and remarkable straw poll win in New Hampshire last week, I’m beginning to sense that the GOP infighting over LGBT in 2012 could be quite some fun to watch.