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.)
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.”