Friday, October 24, 2008

In Which I Am Again Confused by the Big, International Anti-Gay Agenda Run by Gay Men

This story is really as tragic as it is perplexing. If you've heard of Austria's Jörg Haider, you've most likely heard of his far-right intolerant views. As the head of Austria's most conservative political party, Alliance for the Future of Austria, Haider was known for his antisemitism and his "...championing traditional family values, railing against the European Union and calling for an end to immigration." Now, just two weeks after his death, his party is having to face an awkward truth about its former leader and the figure-head of Austria's "family values" movement- that he was gay.

Jörg Haider died on the night of October 11th. After having some drinks with his partner, Stefan Petzner, the two started arguing. Upset, Haider got into his car and sped towards home. He was drunk and driving far faster than the speed limit. His car ran off the road and flipped twice.

Now Stefan Petzner, who has taken over as the conservative party's leader since the night of Haider's death, is speaking out about their love:
“We had a special relationship that went far beyond friendship,” the successor, Stefan Petzner, a former fashion and cosmetics reporter, said Sunday in a highly emotional interview on Austrian Radio 3. “Jörg and I were connected by something truly special. He was the man of my life.”
The Times goes on to note that Haidar was maried and had two children, and that "he had cultivated a macho, man-of-the-people persona." And, of course, there are those in his party who insist that the rumors of an intimate relationship between Petzner and Haidar are false - that the sightings of the two men at gay clubs are inventions and that Petzner was speaking only of their friendship in particularly tender terms. Yet, Haidar's relationship with Petzner has been an open secret for years. From an article published in 2000, it seems like Haidar's affair can't truely be such a surprise:
Haider, who has become a target of criticism across Europe ever since his right-wing Freedom Party joined the ruling Austrian government, is widely known to be gay, according to Berlin's Tageszeitung and the Austrian paper Der Standard. "We've known about Haider's homosexuality for about ten years," stated the Austrian gay-activist group Homosexual Initiative.
What most bothers me is that Haidar and Petzner were clearly in a loving relationship. As the head of Austria's most conservative and anti-gay party, Haidar was not promoting an agenda of intolerance while feeling guilty about a one-night stand. He had a long term partner and a loving relationship. Why fight to undermine the ability of other couples to find that happiness - why undermine the chances of your own relationship being respected?

Since Haider cannot answer me, this is the question I put to other gay politicians and religious leaders who seem to work tirelessly against their own best interests. Let's start with the Log Cabin Republicans - why?


Skye said...

I don't have it in me to actually discuss this, but I just have to say that this is one of my favorite blog post titles ever.

Mächtige Maus said...

Looking forward to someone finally being able to answer this for me, because I have been asking this question for years.

Habladora said...

Skye - thanks ;)
Maus - tell me about it. I feel like you've actually had conversations with Log Cabin sorts, though, where they try to explain the reasoning behind actively supporting a part that runs campaigns largely on taking rights away from same-sex partners and their families. What reasons have you been given for lesbians voting for or donating to Republican candidates?

Mächtige Maus said...

Honestly, I have yet to get a legitimate answer on this. I know one person from my past and one person from my present who have been unable to explain to me how this can be.

I understand the concept of fiscal conservative and might even be convinced of its merit. However, to me it doesn't matter because conservative values do not support my civil rights. That alone is enough for me to vote the way I do.

So, bottom line is I have nothing to offer on this because no one has ever offered me anything of substance to make it make sense to me.

DJ Dual Core said...

If you accept the theory, as I do, that all politics are identity politics this can add up, I think. Perhaps these men are simply conservative _before_ they are gay. It's like Whoopi Goldberg saying she is American before she is black.

They take their primary identity from conservatism, so the political interests of the gay part of their identity looses out.