GLR September-October 2022

Hirschfeld a Public Danger: the Jews are Our Misfortune!” In the end, the trial had quite the opposite effect to what Hirschfeld had sought. Rather than raising awareness of the plight of gay men and ameliorating their situation, it ush ered in a crackdown on homosexual behavior and a rise in court cases and convictions. At the same time, the Kaiser instigated a cover-up of queerness in the German army—during which time, at one of his hunting-lodge parties, the chief of the Military Secretariat, Dietrich von Huelsen-Haesaler, died of a heart attack while performing a dance in a tutu. § T HE S CIENTIFIC H UMANITARIAN C OMMITTEE pro duced numerous publications from 1899 to 1923, including its annual “Yearbook of Inter mediate Sexual Types,” a series of case studies on homosexual, intersex, and transgender indi viduals. Since a nonbinary presentation was

Costume party at the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft with Magnus Hirschfeld (second from right). Courtesy Archive of Magnus-Hirschfeld-Gesellschaft.

cluded in his 1913 book The Homosexuality of Man and Woman , for which he claimed to have assessed 10,000 homo sexual men and women of all ethnicities, ages, and social classes, starting with an ancient Egyptian document written on papyrus. With discussions of homosexuality in the military, in prisons, and in other institutions, Hirschfeld presented homo sexuality as a natural variation that could not and should not be “treated,” as its origins were biological. (He wondered whether ovarian tissue may be found in the bodies of gay men and tes ticular tissue in those of lesbian women). By the time he published this tome, Hirschfeld had already cofounded the world’s first organization to promote LGBT rights—the civil activist group calling itself the Scientific Hu manitarian Committee. The Committee, which grew to around 500 members and had branches in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands, was primarily dedicated to campaigning for the repeal of Section 175, under which male homosexual behavior could be prosecuted. To that end, the group wished to demon strate the normality, prevalence, innateness, and global nature of the homosexual orientation, and gathered the signatures of prominent figures, mostly straight allies like Albert Einstein. Committee member Kurt Hiller’s paper, “Section 175: The Dis grace of the Century,” was delivered to the German govern ment—but to no avail. Hirschfeld himself was called to testify at a highly contro versial trial lasting from 1907 to 1909, during which a number of men in the inner circle of Kaiser Wilhelm II were accused of homosexual conduct. These proceedings were electrified when journalist Maximilian Harden exposed the relationship between Prince Philipp of Eulenburg and Hertefeld, and General Kuno von Moltke—two of the Kaiser’s closest friends—and suggested that Philipp’s palace was operating as a gay salon. Prince Philipp and Moltke both attempted to sue Harden for libel. Hirschfeld testified that he believed Moltke to be homosexual—but said there was nothing wrong with that. The right-wingers of the day were outraged by what they saw as an attempt to besmirch the honor of the German military. Hirschfeld’s clinic was vandal ized with graffiti—a harbinger of things to come: “Dr.

scarcely possible at this time—one had to appear male or fe male—many subjects spoke of vacillating between male and fe male presentation, and would be photographed in a dress, a suit, and indeed naked. This was the world’s first scientific journal to deal with variant sexual behavior, with contributors such as Richard von Krafft-Ebing. Other journals and magazines fol lowed. In 1896, Adolf Brand began to publish the magazine Der Eigene (“The Special Few”), the world’s first gay magazine. With a print run of around 1,500, Der Eigene appealed to a read ership interested in what might be called hypermasculinity, fo cusing on physical fitness and virility. For lesbians, the leading magazines were Die Freundin (“The Girlfriend”) and Frauen liebe (“Love of Women”). Hirschfeld wrote the preface to Berlin’s Lesbian Women by the journalist Ruth Roellig, an overview of lesbian gathering places in the capital, which was freely available in the city’s kiosks and train stations. Hirschfeld had already published his own report on queer nightlife and cruising, “Berlin’s Third Sex,” in which he de scribes a dozen major gay bars in the capital, sex work of all permutations, and the city’s drag scene. He elaborated on the old idea of homosexuals as a “third sex” by making a clear distinction between sexual orientation and gender identity, and he became engrossed in research on the latter. In 1910, he coined the term “transvestite,” and he later identified two types of transvestism, one intended to bring about sexual arousal, what is now called transvestic fetishism, the other an expres sion of an innate, permanent identity—what we would call transgenderism. From 1908 onward, patients of Hirschfeld were able to apply for special “transvestite certificates,” diagnostic notes that the holder could take to the police to obtain a stamped docu ment guaranteeing their right to wear masculine or feminine clothing in public. One of those to obtain such a license was the Berliner trans man Berthold Buttgereit, born in 1891, who was identified as female at birth but who felt himself to be male from an early age. He visited Hirschfeld at the age of twenty and was diagnosed as a “total transvestite,” meaning that he was fully identified as male. He was able to obtain a transvestite certifi

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