The Leader Of Germany’s Anti-Immigrant, Homophobic Party Is An Out Lesbian

Former banker Alice Weidel is the new co-leader of the Alternative for Germany party.

On Sunday, the right-wing Alternative for Germany party elected Alice Weidel its new co-leader, alongside party founder Alexander Gauland.

In addition to being anti-migrant and Eurosceptic, AfG opposes marriage equality and adoption by same-sex couples. So it’s somewhat surprising Weidel is openly gay herself—and raising two sons with her partner. (If you’re curious, AfG also opposes feminism, denies climate change is real, supports reinstating the draft, and is fighting off accusations of anti-Semitism.)

COLOGNE, GERMANY - APRIL 23: Member of Germany's right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party Alice Weidel delivers a speech after her nomination as one of the campaign leaders of Germany's right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) party for the next German general election, during the federal congress of the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) political party on April 23, 2017 in Cologne, Germany. The party is meeting following the recent surprise announcement by its chairwoman Frauke Petry that she will not run in German federal elections scheduled for September. The AfD saw a surge in popularity that helped it capture seats in 10 state parliaments, though more recently that party has seen its poll numbers slip. It has also been plagued by infighting between more moderate and radical factions of its leadership. (Photo by Sascha Schuermann/Getty Images)
Sascha Schuermann/Getty Images

Weidel, 38, is an economist, and a former banker at Goldman Sachs and the bank of China. (She lived in China for six years and speaks fluent Mandarin.) In part, her rise can be seen as an attempt by AfG to shake off its radical image and distance itself from the ultranationalist far-right National Democratic Party of Germany.

She’s focused her platform on criticizing the Euro and debt restructuring with Greece. But at the party congress in Cologne last weekend, as AfD declared Islam incompatible with German culture and insisted Germany should stop reuniting refugee families, she was right there chiming in.

It’s a “scandal,” Weidel said, “[that] Christian holidays have to be protected by police with machine guns and barriers for trucks.” AfG’s populist message has propelled it to third place in opinion polls, behind the two parties in Germany’s governing coalition.

Still, Weidel somehow describes herself as a “liberal at the core.”

And she’s not the only gay person at the front of an reactionary political party: In France, National Front leader Marine Le Pen’s right hand man, Florian Philippot, is also gay. What makes an LGBT person work against their own best interest? Extremists always frame the situation as “us vs. them,” and some people will do just about anything to be a part of “us.”

Dan Avery is a writer-editor who focuses on culture, breaking news and LGBT rights. His work has appeared in Newsweek, The New York Times, Time Out New York, The Advocate and elsewhere.