Petzner first went on national television shortly after the crash, tearfully proclaiming, “for us, it’s like the end of the world.” While this outburst struck the usually reserved Austrian populus as strange, they let it slide. Haider had been a 58-year-old married father of two. Then last week Petzner gave an equally emotional radio address in which he declared,
“We had a special relationship that went far beyond friendship. Joerg and I were connected by something truly special. He was the man of my life … I loved him as a best friend.”
That’s the two of them in the photo at left — Haider is the one on the left, looking very Austrian and giving the thumbs up. We wonder if he knows our Governator.
While many in the country may have been aware of Haider’s sexuality, and while rumors have swirled for years particularly because Haider liked to keep a bevy of tan young men in entourage, Austrians are typically respectful of the sphere of privacy. It’s only now, with Petzer apparently compelled by the tragedy to let it all hang out, that the country is abuzz, with even a respected national newspaper publishing grainy photos of Haider in the gay bar in Carinthia, where he was last seen alive.
The Freedom Party, and now the newly formed Alliance for the Future of Austria, represent about 30% of the Austrian vote, and have been highly criticized across Europe for their anti-immigration and anti-Semitic stands. Interestingly, while sticking with right-ist positions, the party had never made “family values” a central campaign theme. This piece in the Huffington Post looks further into the central role gay men have played in fascist movements throughout the last century.
We wish Petzner the best in giving voice to all the closeted, xenophobic, Jew-hating gays out there. Aufweiderzein.
Below: "The Long Stroke," the cable news spoof, the candid photos, your new favorite euphemism and the great Christian retreat.
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