On 22 November 2005 Angela Merkel became Germany’s first female chancellor, dubbed ‘Miss Germany’ by a national tabloid (Bild, 11 October 2005). Ten months previously, Aslı Bayram had become the first woman of non-German descent to win the beauty contest of that title. In the run-up to the Berlin mayoral elections of June 2001, when he would be voted into office, Klaus Wowereit had declared, ‘I’m gay and that’s just fine’1 (‘Ich bin schwul, und das ist auch gut so’). The Berlin Republic of the 21st century seems a progressive nation as far as gender and sexuality are concerned: women can be voted into the highest political office, women and men with non-German backgrounds can achieve public acclaim, and being openly gay seems to do no harm to your political career.