Why Are LGBTQ People Supporting Germany’s Racist, Homophobic, Far-Right Political Party?
The existence of gay conservatives shouldn’t really surprise anyone. The U.S. has Twinks4Trump and the Log Cabin Republicans, and one-third of gay men supported France’s anti-gay presidential candidate Marine LePen.
But now gay conservatives in Germany are supporting Alternative for Germany (AfD), a far-right political party known for opposing same-sex marriage, the integration of Muslims into German society and the existence of climate change. One 2016 survey showed that 17% of gay German men support AfD. To learn more, Vice magazine writer Thomas Rogers recently spoke with Alex Tassis, the leader of a group of LGBTQ AfD supporters as well as a few professors who study the far-right.
Tassis called the AfD’s opposition to marriage equality “a luxury problem,” calls equality between men and women “a psychological disease” and the acceptance of Muslim refugees into German society a ”West Coast fantasy.” Tassis also doesn’t believe gay people have a moral duty to support other marginalized people, like refugees.
Rogers writes: “‘Humanitarianism,’ as he called it, is a ‘decadent millionaire upper-class immorality.’ He added: ‘Gays need to distance themselves so it’s clear on which side we’ll stand in the future.’”
Patrick Wielowiejski, a German professor studying gay and lesbian AfD supporters, said that gay people have supported conservative candidates since the ‘70s, except that many of those supporters were closeted back then. When the LGBTQ rights movement first began in Europe and elsewhere during the ‘70s, Wielowiejski says, it sought to challenge concepts of gender and sexuality throughout society. But as the movement progressed into identity politics of the ‘80s and ‘90s, many LGBTQ people got used to greater acceptance as a minority and less concerned with other marginalized groups facing social oppression.
Wielowiejski also thinks that some gay and lesbian AfD supporters like the fact that the party is lead by a 38-year-old lesbian named Alice Weidel: She’s raising two children with a woman, doesn’t want Germany to offer health insurance to Syrian Muslim refugees, who thinks that “political correctness” belongs to the “dustbin of history” and who once argued that Hitler wasn’t “absolutely evil.” Her leadership is a “fig leaf” that makes the party seem progressive despite its xenophobia.
Another far-right researcher and social psychologist told Rogers that LGBTQ people support far-right candidates for two simple reasons: First, minority groups typically “kick downward” and “close the door behind them” after securing their own rights, excluding other marginalized groups from social equality. Secondly, gay people align themselves with far-right politics to feel more powerful against easy-identifiable social enemies.
“[Weidel’s] anti-Muslim rhetoric allows her to distance herself from her outsider identity as a lesbian,” Rogers writes.
(Featured image by Martinns via iStock Photography)