88-Year-Old Former NYC Mayor Ed Koch “Shocked” At Gay Allegations

ed-kochIn a new documentary about former mayor of New York City, Ed Koch, lobbyist and gay rights activist Ethan Geto suggests Koch’s own homosexuality resulted in his reticence amidst the AIDS crisis.

“So many people, particularly in the gay community, thought Koch was gay and that because he was a closeted gay man he wouldn’t do anything on AIDS,” Geto says in Neil Barsky’s Koch. “It would have been so incredibly invaluable for a popular mayor of New York to declare he was gay.”

Koch, who served three terms as mayor from 1978 to 1989, told the New York Post he was taken aback by Geto’s comments, as he was someone he once considered a friend.

“I was shocked, frankly,” Koch said. “Why would he do that?”

Author and activist described Koch as a “closeted gay man” and branded him “the person most responsible for allowing AIDS to get out of control.” In his award-winning play, The Normal Heart, Kramer writes that the only way to get Mayor Koch to address the epidemic would be to “hire a hunky hustler and send him up to Gracie Mansion with our plea tattooed on his cock.”

The octogenarian has always refused to publicly acknowledge his sexuality, claiming it would “legitimize the question” and make it harder for anyone contemplating a run for public office.

A lifelong bachelor, Koch’s sexuality became an issue during his 1977 mayoral run against Mario Cuomo — father of current New York governor Andrew Cuomo — when anonymous posters appeared bearing the catchy slogan, “Vote for Cuomo, Not the Homo.”

“I always blamed both Mario and Andrew for putting it up or having the placard put up,” Koch recently told The Daily Beast. “Andrew came to see me when he was running for attorney general … He said ‘I had nothing to do with it.’ Well, it’s difficult to accept, but I accept it. He said it, I accept it. I don’t have proof to the contrary.”


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  • The Real Mike in Asheville

    Proof that there are assholes on all sides of issues — as unlikely as it is, I’d prefer that Koch is straight rather than the Kapo he most likely is.

  • QJ201

    Gay or Not, Koch did NOTHING about AIDS in NYC and for that he belongs in the HIV HALL OF SHAME right next to Reagan

  • Raquel Santiago

    Gender and Sexual identity need taken out of the picture in polities and this is slowly changing but not fast enough.

  • Gigi Gee

    @Raquel Santiago: Don’t forget about the religious aspect. I don’t care if a politician is religious or not. Just do the job that you were hired to do!

  • Cam

    Ugh, hearing these burned out old closet cases in the context of today just makes your skin crawl.

  • seggerman

    Koch’s first cousin, the late Evelyn Kotch, a lesbian active in Log Cabin(!?) came to the local LGBT center (Norwalk CT) to give a talk. This was, oh, 15, 20 years ago. She told us, in case anyone cards, that her cousin Ed was family in more than one way.

  • Redpalacebulleaglesox

    Koch always cared more about himself than anyone else. His sexuality isn’t really the issue, his chronic and political narcissism should be. Koch always cared only about Koch and keeping himself in the public eye. He is a cancer on the body politic and needs to be relegated to the distant past.

  • Redpalacebulleaglesox

    In my previous comment, please strike “and” in the second sentence between “chronic” and “political.” My typo. Could we have an “edit post” feature here, please?

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