Since Klaus Wowereit’s famous statement “I’m gay – and that’s ok” at a press conference before his election as Governing Mayor of Berlin, gay and lesbian senior politicians have almost become commonplace, especially in Western Europe. Gay and lesbian lifestyles have not only become mainstream but quite openly also reached the ruling class.
Widespread social and legal equality has led to the emergence of a new queer establishment that aligns itself with the social values of the liberal-conservative mainstream. Queer families can no longer be considered a counter-model to the bourgeois family; role stereotypes converge, differences are leveled.
Is this development a socio-political blessing or a curse? Is there room for otherness in the ruling class? Can queer politicians be expected to pursue different policies and queer executives to lead differently? And why is there still no room for queer champions in sectors like professional sports?
Complementary to the exhibition Queer as German Folk, panel discussions were held in Toronto, New York, Mexico City, and Berlin. Under the banner Queer Commons – Queer Conflicts, they highlighted diverse aspects of contemporary queer discourse: queer resistance, queer culture, queer diversity and queer establishment. The discussions – held in English with panelists from the US, Canada, Mexico and Germany – were recorded and are available on this website.