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Out and Elected: Political Careers of Openly Gay and Lesbian Politicians in Germany and Finland

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How have openly lesbian and gay politicians feared in German and Finnish politics from the 1980s to the present day? The article follows anecdotally the careers of individual lesbian and gay political actors in two countries with either a mixed system of constituency voting and list voting, or an open list with multi-member districts by using newspaper and journal articles as its sources. The findings of the article challenge pervious understandings about the natural connection between lesbian and gay politicians, movements and voters, as well as the most advantageous timing and ways for coming out. Whereas in both countries politician's known homosexuality has transformed from a devastating problem to a potential benefit, the article also highlights the decisive role of gender in building successful political careers as an openly homosexual politician in high-level politics, and suggests to the enduringly gendered and sexualized constructedness of politics.
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Keywords: Finland; Germany; gay; homosexuality; lesbian; out politicians

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Tampere

Publication date: March 1, 2016

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  • Redescriptions: Political Thought, Conceptual History and Feminist Theory is an international refereed journal which publishes contributions on the transdisciplinary study of concepts. In classical rhetoric redescription refers to a rhetorical move that alters the use of a concept in one respect or another. The journal Redescriptions draws attention to conceptual moves within political theory, conceptual history and feminist thought, and highlights political agency within these moves. Political and feminist thought in various forms, whether in philosophical, historical or contemporary terms is published by the journal. Unique in its focus in political and conceptual contingency, Redescriptions began its life as Finnish Yearbook of Political Thought in 1997; it was renamed as Redescriptions in 2003, and since 2014 the journal has been published by Manchester University Press. Redescriptions welcomes original scholarly contributions on any aspect of political and feminist thought no matter what the academic discipline of the author. In particular, we welcome papers which take the changing and contested character of concepts seriously.
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