Homosexuelle Initiative (HOSI) Wien

1. Lesben- und Schwulenverband Österreichs

Haider is gay, says German report

The Austrian far right in power: special report

by Kate Connolly in Vienna

Jörg Haider, the de facto leader of the far-right Freedom party in Austria, has been "outed" by German and Austrian newspapers who claim he is a homosexual.
A report in the leftwing Berlin Tageszeitung, or Taz, headlined "Jörg simply wants a cuddle", and repeated in the Austrian daily Der Standard yesterday, says that the gay community in Austria has had evidence that Mr Haider is gay for some time.
But, say the newspapers, it has been reluctant to release the evidence, fearing an outburst of hate towards the gay community "that would overtake the hatred towards foreigners", according to the owner of one of Vienna’s well-known gay bars.
Mr Haider threw Europe into turmoil after the Freedom party entered government with the conservative People’s party under the leadership of Chancellor Wolfgang Schüssel almost two months ago.
Political analysts have largely viewed his resignation as head of the party last month as a tactical move, but some now claim he wanted to withdraw from the limelight, fearing that his outing was imminent.

According to Taz, many members of Vienna’s gay scene are ready to confirm the reports. They claim he regularly has sex with young men below the age of consent – 18 for homosexuals.
As a result, says Taz: "These days he prefers to meet with boys from nearby Slovakia" (where the age of consent is 15). The paper also refers to Mr Haider’s alleged cocaine habit.
Following yesterday’s reports, the Freedom party’s parliamentary leader, Peter Westenthaler, said: "I refuse to comment on such absurdities and sleaze-mongering." Mr Haider has made no comment, though it is expected that he will now be forced to break his longstanding silence on the issue.
According to Taz, Haider’s current partner is a youthful member of the Freedom party who has worked as his private secretary.

Hosi, or Homosexual Initiative, the biggest gay pressure group in Austria, said: "We’ve known about Haider’s homosexuality for about 10 years. On the one hand we think it’s positive that the rumours are no longer capable of ruining a political career, on the other hand an earlier outing of Haider would have been justified."

The Guardian, London, 24. 3. 2000

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