Australian politico Penny Wong breaks not one, but two records this week:
South Australia Senator Penny Wong Ying Yen has been appointed minister for water and climate change by new Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.
The 39-year-old lawyer is the first Asian-born person to become a Cabinet minister as well as the first gay person of either sex.
An Asian lesbian politician? We knew the future would blow our minds, but this is just crazy!
Wong’s first mission will bring her to Bali, where world leaders are attending a UN-sponsored summit on climate change. The 39-year old lady lover will be accompanied by Prime Minister Rudd and environment minister Peter Garrett, who once front a band called Midnight Oil. Ha!
[Update: Australian gossip-monger Ben Widdicombe informs us that Pink News UK, our source, got this story wrong: Wong isn’t the first gay cabinet member. Writes Widdicombe,
Penny Wong is certainly not the first gay Aussie cabinet minister. One of the reasons Australia ‘s response to the HIV crisis in the 1980s was so strong was that federal Health Minister Neal Blewett, although married with two children, was widely known in the gay community to be homosexual. However he was considered so strong on AIDS public health policy–especially compared to U.S. inaction during the same time–that the gay press gave him a virtual “closet pass.”
Blewett came out in 2000 and lives with his partner Robert Brain.