A reference for the LGTBI collective as he was one of the first politicians to come out of the closet

A reference for the LGTBI collective as he was one of the first politicians to come out of the closet

In December 2000, while he was a senator, Jerónimo Saavedra’s political resume grew as he became one of the first Spanish heroes to publicly express his homosexual condition. This gesture was remembered this Tuesday by different personalities from the LGTBIQ+ group who valued his honesty in airing his sexual orientation.

He was not the first politician to do so. He was ahead of him, for example, by his colleague Miquel Iceta, the first general secretary of the PSOE in Catalonia.

However, the canary does He was the first person in Spain to confess his condition after having held relevant positions. such as a ministry or the presidency of an autonomous government.

«Jerónimo Saavedra was better known. He had been a minister and senator. At that moment he was more visible. He was not the first Spanish politician to come out of the closet, but he was one of the first», says Fernando Bruquetas, author of the book ‘Outing in Spain. The Spaniards who came out of the closet’ (Hijos de Muley Rubio, 2000), in whose prologue Saavedra shared that aspect of his intimacy.

The former minister’s preface had a great media impact, remembers Bruquetas, who was inundated with offers to present his work in talks and interviews. “He made me famous throughout Spain and much of the world,” he says, grateful for the fact that Saavedra chose his book to tell it.

«I was begging him to come out of the closet, but he didn’t want to. Then, After the tragic circumstances of the death of his close companion, Sebastián, he made him rethink the situation and decided that the prologue was going to be his confession.. In the end, it was not a confession but an acknowledgment of his friend,” explains the historian and professor of Modern History at the University of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria.

Bruquetas met Saavedra before entering politics, during his time as a professor at the Higher School of Commerce of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria. “I met him when he taught Labor Law.” There he struck up a friendship that lasted over the years and that crystallized in the generous gesture of prefacing his book with that discreet and honest statement that had a tremendous impact.

“I felt very honored by his friendship and his deference», points out the author. «It was the first time that a commercial book, beyond academic ones, claimed the visibility of homosexuality and Jerónimo personified that advance», points out the historian.

Respect and gratitude

This visibility was also valued yesterday by personalities from the LGTBIQ+ community. Thus, the GAMA collective He recalled that Saavedra aired his condition in that prologue at the age of 64, when he felt ready. The group, through a statement, wanted to highlight “the importance that a figure like that of the former minister, president of the Government of the Canary Islands and mayor of the capital of Gran Canaria, among other positions, has for the LGTBI community, among other positions, by becoming “in he first openly gay politician of Democracy in Spain».

On the other hand, the State Federation of LGTBIQ+ groups He expressed his regret over the death of the Prime Minister of Spain who came out of the closet through the social network “He fought tirelessly for democracy, equality and freedom and was an example,” they indicated in his profile.

Also her friend and first trans woman to hold the position of deputy in the Spanish Parliament, Carla Antonellihighlighted in this social network the fact that Saavedra, “personally, a committed man and a political reference” was a “visible gay” person since 2000. The current senator also recalled that she last agreed once with him at an event about the memory of trans people in Tenerife.

The liberating prologue

Below we reproduce the prologue of the book ‘Outing in Spain. The Spaniards who came out of the closet in which Jerónimo Saavedra publicly expressed his homosexual condition in 2000, after the death of his former partner.

«One day at the end of August I decided to write the prologue to this book. I had just returned from my musical vacation in Salzburg and had meditated on reading it. The right to externalize our own identity at the time we deem appropriate. The right to have our privacy respected by others. The ideological commitment to fight for equality by eliminating discriminatory attitudes in society, whatever its motivation. On the night of August 28, I slept poorly and that happens very rarely to me. I would wake up with these ideas related to ‘outing’ floating around in my head. Early in the day there was a knock at the door of my rest house in Mazo, a beautiful town on the island of La Palma. They were Civil Guard agents. They told me that, in the early morning, my collaborator and friend had lost his life in a car accident while returning to my house.

Hours later I asked his brothers to put my name in the obituaries. They neither asked me nor I explained to them. It was a spontaneously arising need. At the funeral I was able to hug some party colleagues who, some time ago, when I held a higher-ranking public position than the current one, made me uncomfortable with their homophobic attitudes. For me, this change in attitude has meant a small victory for tolerance and perhaps something more. From the recognition of authenticity and coherence between what is thought and how it is lived. If everyone were authentic, no one would have to come out of the closet to encourage others to be authentic. I could never think that instead of writing the prologue to this book I was writing another chapter of it. The terrible circumstances that I have had to suffer explain it. And being fair to those who shared so much friendship in life demands it.

Jerónimo Saavedra Acevedo. September 2000»


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