On Thursday, November 14, the United States senate unanimously confirmed Human Rights Campaign (HRC) board member and openly gay James “Wally” Brewster Jr. to be the Ambassador to the Dominican Republic. He joins five other openly gay ambassadors, who were all confirmed earlier this year.
Past credentials of Brewster include serving as a senior executive for global consumer dynamics strategy consulting firm SBK Global, working on the board of directors at HRC, and serving as an LGBT co-chair for the Democratic National Committee.
Joining him this year are John Berry of Australia, James Costos of Spain, Rufus Gillford of Denmark, and Daniel Baer as ambassador to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, all of whom are openly gay and were nominated by President Barack Obama.
This will make Brewster the first ever openly gay man to serve as a United States ambassador for the Dominican Republic.
Despite skepticism over the Domincan Republic’s acceptance of their new ambassador, particularly because of the mixed perceptions of homosexuality in the country’s culture (the Domincan Republic has been known to show oppressive attitudes and practices toward its own citizens throughout history), the Dominican Embassy in Washington informed the media that Brewster’s sexual orientation would be a non-issue.
The statement from the Dominican Embassy reads: “The Dominican Republic is a democracy with a vibrant media and a wide diversity of opinions on every conceivable topic. However, it is the position of the Government of the Dominican Republic that a person´s sexual preference is strictly a personal matter and it looks forward to working constructively with Mr. Brewster in his official capacity once his nomination is approved by the US Senate.”