Crist reminds me of a phenomenon that we experienced in Hamburg a while ago:

Hamburg was traditionally run by the SPD, comparable to the Democrats in the US.  In 2001, the conservative CDU (comparable to the Republicans) nominated Ole Von Beust to run for mayor/governor (Hamburg is a state and a city at the same time).  Everybody in the gay scene knew, that Von Beust was gay – but he chose to remain closeted.  It got even worse, when it came closer to the elections: Due to the multi-party system in Germany, he announced that he would go into a coalition with the newly founded right wing ‘Law and Order Offensive Party’, if he had to choose a partner.  He still remained closeted.

So, what did the gays think about this?  Surely a lot of us thought it was pretty pathetic, but there was a fair amount that thought, it would be great to have a (secretly) gay mayor.  The hope was that “He will be more pro-gay than any other possible candidate.”He finally got elected – not to be Germany’s first gay governor (the SPD governor of Berlin came out before he ran for office and was finally elected) but to be the first closeted gay governor – voted into office with lots of gay votes, based on  the hope, he would be pro-LGBT.  Especially, since he made his equally closeted ‘high school friend’ Roger Kusch Secretary of Justice.

How did this all turn out?  Definitely not so good for the LGBTs.  Like every closeted gay politician he jumped on the anti-gay train.  In 2001, parts of the Civil Unions law had to go be approved by the federal council – he voted against it which resulted in unequal rights for  Civil Unions.

In 2003 he was dragged out of his closet by Ronald Schill, the psychopathic leader of his law and order coalition partner.  Schill blackmailed him – and threatened to out Von Beust and his (until today neither proven nor rebutted) homosexual relationship to Roger Kusch.  Von Beust went in front of the press and came out, Schill was kicked out of the government – and Von Beust remained as little pro-LGBT as he was before.

Sounds crazy?  I surely didn’t make it up – it all happened, and I was there ūüėČ I even omitted parts of the story like the rumors around gay hookers, Schill fleeing to Cuba and Brazil, being caught on video sniffing cocaine,…

What does that tell us though, regarding Crist?

  • Crist might appeal to LGBTs (maybe only Gs…), since he is somehow ‘one of us’
  • Being gay doesn’t mean being pro-LGBT – especially not if you are in a position of power
  • Being a closeted gay man and running for office for a conservative party is a big risk – personally and for the state/country you are going to serve, since you are an easy target for blackmail
  • The log cabinettes will subtly play the ‘See how progressive the GOP is – the candidate for VP is one of us’ card

Now it will be interesting what happens in the McCain camp – and then it will become crucial, how we handle Crist as VP candidate – we can’t loose valuable LGBT votes to a self-loathing, closeted gay man!