Thought of the Day: Klaus Wowereit

untitled“And Harvey Milk as a role model? Not for me. But he was certainly a trailblazer. He showed that an openly gay person can achieve anything, maybe even become President of the United States — though my imagination doesn’t quite stretch that far! Then again, who could have imagined even a few years ago that Americans would elect an African-American into the White House?

But let’s not deceive ourselves. There are also still influential groups in the US that want to overturn gay rights. In California last November, a ballot proposition revoked the right to civil unions.

Thankfully, in Germany we’re further along. I’m confident that the majority of Germans can accept a homosexual politician in a leadership role. But here as well we shouldn’t maintain any illusions — there are surely still many people who wouldn’t vote for a gay candidate simply because of his or her sexual orientation…

In one scene in the film, Harvey Milk receives a postcard with an anonymous threat. Something will happen, it says, if he speaks at a certain rally. Nonetheless, Milk goes onstage and gives a speech that electrifies the audience. My hope is that Van Sant’s film will inspire as many people as Milk did. Openly gay Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit on Milk, the biopic of slain civil rights leader Harvey Milk, which just opened in Germany.

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  • Charles J. Mueller

    Ja wohl. Das ist schon!

    (apologies to German speakers. Don’t know how to do an umlaut on a Mac)

  • Darth Paul

    @Charles J. Mueller: An “e” after the umlauted vowel is correct when no umlaut is available.

    Wowereit is SO dreamy.

  • Charles J. Mueller

    @Darth Paul:

    Ich stehe behoben

    Danke Schoen, Mein Herr.

    Und ja, Wowereit ist sehr träumerisch. Das ist sicher. ;-)

  • Distingué Traces

    Young Alec Baldwin is absolutely right!

  • Andi

    Haha, love it when Americans speak German, it’s always sounds kind of cute ( a shame I can’t her you accent here). Wowereit is really kind of cool and has been Berlin’s mayor since 2001. He was first elected after publicly coming out, claiming: “Ich bin schwul, und das ist auch gut so.” (“I am gay, and that’s good the way it is”) Here’s a short clip of his coming out speech:

  • Charles J. Mueller


    “(a shame I can’t her your accent here).”

    As the famous American actor Cary Grant would have replied,

    “Yes, isn’t it”

    and to which I will also reply to by saying,

    (a shame I can’t her your accent here). Haha

    Oberseite des Morgens zu Ihnen (Top of the morning to you)

  • Andi

    @Charles J. Mueller: @Charles J. Mueller:

    Uhm…Charlie, I REALLY do like to hear Americans speak German. Like I said, it’s cute – and I don’t mean this in a degrading but in a nice way. So, there is no need for your reaction.
    And in terms of my accent…I got family in the US and therefore I often get accused of speaking American English instead of the (supposedly more sophisticated) Oxford English that is taught in German schools. I love being different. ;-)

  • Charles J. Mueller


    Hi Andi. Thank you for your reply and the clarification of your original comments to which I responded with a bit of tongue-in-cheek pique. And yes, there is something to being different. I too, strive not to be just like everyone else and “fit in”. lol

    I am a first generation American. My grandparents on both sides and my father came from Germany. In 1967, I visited my father who was then living in Hamburg and we spent two weeks together touring the country by car. The Rhine Valley and the trip on the steamship Lorelei, from Mainz to Kologne and back was, for me, the high point of that trip.

    I have not been back to Germany since and have often thought how nice it would be to see Germany once again, which has probably changed much in the intervening 40 plus years since I was there.

    I have a German neighbor next door to me in the Philippines, where I maintain a second home. While my command of German is admittedly schlecht, my father taught me that being able to speak at least a little of the language of the country you are visiting, is always taken as a compliment by the natives.

    With that thought in mind, I made a comment in German to my German neighbor, who immediately began laughing before I even finished speaking. When I asked the reason for his amusement, he replied “You really shouldn’t try to speak a language if you don’t know how to. You’ll just embarrass yourself.”

    And with his statement, I, of course, immediately knew what part of the anatomy he was. I was tempted to tell him so and laugh at him as well, but I was brought up a little better than that, so I bit my tongue and refrained from doing so. ein Arschloch war genug. ;-)

    It was with that experience still fresh on my mind, that I made my somewhat snarky-sounding reply to you. With your explanation in hand, I now realize that I obviously over-reacted. Meine aufrichtigen Entschuldigungen.

    In any event, no harm was done and if I may be so bold as to inquire, what part of Germany do you live in? Are you a city dweller or a person who enjoys the slower pace of life in the countryside?

    With the passing of all of my family and the loss of a German friend I met many years ago in Amsterdam and who lived in Oberammergau, I no longer have anyone in Germany with whom I can correspond and would very much enjoy having a new German pen pal if you are so inclined.

    I look forward to the pleasure of hearing from you again.

  • Charles J. Mueller


    Oh…and please do call me Chuck. All of my friends know me by that name. ;-)

  • Andi

    @Charles J. Mueller:
    Wow…didn’t expect an answer here. Thanks for sharing all this with me, Chuck.
    I live in the Ruhr area, Germany’s highest populated part, between the rivers Ruhr and Rhine where I’ve been born. It’s less than an hour to Cologne from here. So this makes me pretty much a city person (but I also do love hiking in the countryside).

    I have family in Cincinnati, Ohio, that I used to visit a lot when I was a teenager. Always loved it there. Last time I was in the US was in September 2001 (no kidding), probably the most improper, strangest and saddest time to visit your country. I will never forget these days… But I really look forward to going back in the near future and visit friends and family members.

    I guess you would be amazed how much Germany has changed over the last decades. In some areas it might still look like it used to but other parts seem like a whole new country I think.

  • Charles J. Mueller

    Hello, Andi,

    Now it is I who will say Wow…I wasn’t sure that I would get an answer back from you either. I am very glad that you did reply.

    I am up a little earlier than normal this morning. I am retired and sleep much later than I used to when I was still running my business in New York City. The very first thing I do when I awake is hit the on button on my computer, put the coffee on and then check my email, so your awaiting message was a very pleasant and welcome surprise for me.

    So you have family in Cincinnati. How interesting. Many, many years ago when I was also still a teenager and living in New York City, I took the train there to visit a couple of friends who had a house on a lake out in the countryside. I was their house guest for two weeks and among the many nice sights they showed me, they took me to a gay bar in downtown Cincinnati that was quite popular as I recall. The name Carnival Bar comes to mind, but I am no longer certain if that was the actual name of it or not.

    Anyway, I met someone at that bar and we had a pleasant little fling before I returned to back New York City. We corresponded for a bit but it kind of fizzled out after awhile as these brief romantic vacation encounters often do. I no longer remember his name and my friends that hosted me have been gone for many years now. I have not been back to Cincinnati since then.

    The area that you were born and live in sounds very nice. Koln was a very beautiful city as I recall, but my father and I did not spend nearly enough time there to see it well. Should I ever return, I would really enjoy taking the time to see all the beautiful sights it has to offer.

    One of the things I would really enjoy, I am sure, would be visiting one of the places where Kolnishe Wasser and Cologne are made, since it is one of my favorite scents. Is it still made with attar of rose petals or has it, like so many other things these days, been reduced to a laboratory produced artificial scent? I would dearly hope not.

    Yes, September, 2001 was, indeed, a very sad time for America. And it seems that this sad event also triggered a long line of unfortunate events that have made this country an even sadder place to be in. The eight year reign of terror with Mr. Bush has, thankfully ended, but the carnage he left in his watch at the helm, is going to be a gargantuan and heroic effort for our new President, Mr. Obama. We all wish him the best and we as gay people, all hope he will wish us the best as well. It still remains to be seen, however.

    These are dark gays for the LGBT community. The sweetness of Mr. Obama’s victory, was followed by the immediate sadness of the passing of Prop. 8 in California. We of the LGBT community will be waiting with baited breath to hear the results of yesterday’s meeting of the State Judges to deliberate whether Prop. 8 should be overturned or not. It does look promising, unfortunately. The eyes of the nation are focused on this issue and we will be all be waiting with baited breath for the news of it’s outcome.

    Normally, I would not post my email address on a blog site like this, but since this thread is quite old and not likely to be visited anymore, I don’t think there would be any harm in my doing so as it would facilitate our corresponding with each other a bit more easily.

    [email protected]

    I will be looking forward to the pleasure of hearing from you again.



  • Charles J. Mueller

    Typo” “It does not look promising, unfortunately.”

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