Senate Appoints Gay Ambassador to Dominican Republic

by Winnie McCroy

EDGE Editor

Friday November 15, 2013

On November 14, the U.S. Senate unanimously confirmed HRC board member and gay man James "Wally" Brewster, Jr. to be Ambassador to the Dominican Republic. He joins five other openly gay ambassadors confirmed this year.

"It is a testament to President Obama and the U.S. Senate that the sexual orientation of these ambassadors is irrelevant to their qualifications for their posts. All Americans should be proud to have these fine public servants representing the interests of the United States, wrote Paul Guequierre in a Nov. 15 blog entry.

Brewster, who served as a senior executive for global consumer dynamics strategy consulting firm SB&K Global, served on the board of directors at gay advocacy group HRC, and was known for his deep commitment to human rights and democracy. He was also a National LGBT Co-Chair for the Democratic National Committee.

His confirmation as U.S. ambassador comes at a time when LGBTs are finally being afforded the opportunity to serve their country in this way. Joining Brewster as U.S. ambassadors this year are five other openly LGBT individuals: John Berry in Australia, James Costos in Spain, Rufus Gifford in Denmark, and Daniel Baer as ambassador to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe.

Prior to this year, only three openly gay people had served as U.S. Ambassadors: Jim Hormel, Michael Guest and David Huebner.

According to an article in, Brewster will replace Raul Yzaguirre, who was appointed chief of mission to the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo in Nov. 2010. This May, Yzaguirre announced he would return to their home in Mt. Airy, Maryland, because of "health reasons."

In late June, the AP reported that religious factions in the DR were outraged by the appointment of the openly gay ambassador to their conservative Caribbean country, with the Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez calling Brewester a "maricon," a derogatory slur for a gay man, as seen in the YouTube clip below.

Winnie McCroy is the Women on the EDGE Editor, HIV/Health Editor, and Assistant Entertainment Editor for EDGE Media Network, handling all women's news, HIV health stories and theater reviews throughout the U.S. She has contributed to other publications, including The Village Voice, Gay City News, Chelsea Now and The Advocate, and lives in Brooklyn, New York.