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Haider’s male deputy says they had a relationship

By |2018-01-16T11:36:54-05:00October 30th, 2008|News|

by Rex Wockner

International News

The top deputy to the late Austrian rightist leader Joerg Haider created speculation Oct. 22 that he and Haider had been lovers.
Haider crashed his car and died Oct. 11 after leaving a gay bar drunk.
Stefan Petzner, 27, who replaced Haider as leader of the right-wing party Alliance for the Future of Austria after Haider’s death, told a radio program: “We had a relationship that went far beyond friendship. Joerg and I were connected by something truly special. He was the man of my life. (Haider’s wife, Claudia,) loved him as a woman. He loved her as a man. I loved him in a completely different and personal way. She understood that.”
Reports said party officials unsuccessfully attempted to prevent the interview from being broadcast, blocked further press access to Petzner, passed him over in choosing a leader for the party’s parliamentary group, but kept him on as the party’s overall leader.
Haider, 58, was outed in 2000 by gay activists and newspapers in Austria, Germany and England.
At the time, he had just stepped down from 15 years as head of the populist/nationalist Freedom Party, which was one-half of Austria’s governing coalition from 2000 to 2002.
The presence of the Freedom Party in the Austrian government caused outrage across, and sanctions from, the European Union.
Critics considered Haider extremist, racist and xenophobic. In 1995, the U.S. Anti-Defamation League accused him of making “numerous statements utilizing Holocaust terminology or legitimizing Nazi policy and activities.”
An Oct. 24 Associated Press story, titled “Was Austrian far-right leader Joerg Haider gay?” said Haider had praised aspects of Adolf Hitler’s labor policies; criticized immigrants as lazy, criminal and corrupt; and seemed contemptuous of Jews, but had never spoken against gay people or promoted so-called traditional family values.

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Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.