1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites
Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer in a Carnival costume
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/P. Seeger
Politics

Merkel successor under fire for anti-LGBT joke

Elizabeth Schumacher
March 3, 2019

The CDU leader mocked the idea of gender-neutral bathrooms during a Carnival-themed program on public broadcaster SWR. Politicians and activists called the incident a "travesty."

https://p.dw.com/p/3ENvD

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, German Chancellor Angela Merkel's hand-picked successor as leader of the Christian Democrats (CDU), came under fire on Sunday as a video of her making jokes at the expense of minorities began to do the rounds on social media.

Kramp-Karrenbauer appeared on a live broadcast of a Carnival celebration on Thursday, dressed in festive clothing and charged with entertaining the audience in the southern state of Baden-Württemberg.

Making fun of Berlin's reputation as a hip and progressive haven, she referred to the "latte macchiato party" that has "installed third-gender bathrooms," in hipster cafes. Mocking the idea of neutral bathrooms that are made with a mind to making gender non-confirming and transgender individuals more comfortable, the conservative leader joked: "It's for the men who can't decide if they want to sit or stand when they pee."

'Miss Homophobia 2018'

The comment was immediately slammed by LGBT activists across Germany, noting that Kramp-Karrenbauer was already crowned "Miss Homophobia 2018", an annual distinction bestowed by the equal rights NGO Enough is Enough.

The CDU chief was given the title after making statements against gay marriage, and comparing marriage equality to incest and polygamy. 

Dietmar Bartsch, leader of the opposition Left party, wrote on Twitter that this was "another reason to fight against this woman becoming chancellor," and Berlin's Deputy Mayor Klaus Lederer called the footage a "travesty."

"The chairperson of the largest party in the Bundestag finds it funny to condemn groups of people," using Carnival festivities as an excuse, he added.

Kramp-Karrenbauer was also criticized by the business-friendly and sometime-coalition partner of the CDU, the Free Democrats (FDP). Bundestag lawmaker Jens Brandenburg called the incident "embarrassing" and added: "Is it so difficult to make a humorous joke without attacking minorities?"

'AKK' succeeds Merkel

Every day, DW's editors send out a selection of the day's hard news and quality feature journalism. Sign up for the newsletter here.

Skip next section Explore more
Skip next section Related topics
Skip next section DW's Top Story

DW's Top Story

Police and protesters are pictured during some clashes in Shanghai on November 27, 2022

China anti-lockdown protesters call for Xi to step down

Skip next section More stories from DW
Go to homepage