Friday, 1 February 2013

Koch dies, announces he’s gay

Former New York City mayor Edward Koch announced Friday that he was in fact gay, shortly after succumbing to congestive heart failure.

The colorful New York figure who served three terms at Gracie Mansion said ‘the time had come’ to confirm what many New Yorkers had known for decades about his sexual orientation. ‘I wasn’t sure it was the right moment, but it seemed as good a time as any,’ said the ex-mayor, whose announcement came at approximately 2:15 a.m., just minutes after being pronounced dead at New York Presbyterian Hospital.

Koch, who never married, was a controversial figure in his 12 years as mayor and was often presumed to be in the closet. He was a congressman from a liberal Manhattan district in the years before any gay politicians dared to be open about their personal lives.

Critics said Koch’s slow response to the AIDS epidemic in New York reflected his fear of being associated with anything associated with homosexuality. A recent PBS documentary about the Stonewall rebellion of 1969 showed Koch expressing sympathy with the police and neighbors unhappy about the unruly gay youth who had come to populate the West Village area.

Koch’s surprise acknowledgement that he had spent nearly a century in the closet coincided with his shuffling off the mortal coil with which he had experienced his sexual activity. ‘I know some will say I waited too long,’ he quipped in his signature crusty style. ‘But this is a very personal decision, and it just felt right to do it when I was no longer a person.’

‘Anyway,’ concluded the outgoing mayor, ‘how’m I doing?’

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