LGBTQ* People In History (of Great Importance)
The “Einstein of Sex”: Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld
14 May 1868 – 14 May 1935
Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld was a scholar, physician, sexologist, and arguably the first outspoken gay and transgender activist in modern history.
Why he rocks?
1. Jewish gay* identified doctor, fought to end Paragraph 175 in Germany ( a law that made homosexuality punishable by law)
2. Founding member of Wissenschaftlich-humanitäres Komitee(WhK) ( English: The Scientific-Humanitarian Committee), which acted advocacy group to many underrepresented individuals (including the queer* population).
3. Led the FIRST congress for sexual reform
5. Created a way of cataloging identities, 64 of them, outside of “gay/lesbian,” including many ways to identify oneself outside of cisgender identification. Hirschfeld is one of the earliest scholars and advocates for the transgender community in Western culture.
6. Created the Institute for Sexual Research, which became a safe haven for queer* individuals in Berlin
7. Joined the Bund für Mutterschutz (League for the Protection of Mothers), fighting for women’s equality and the decriminalization of abortions
8. Lost his entire library and most of his life work to the Nazi party but was able to flee and save his life (and rumored to have saved a few others). Nazi soldiers burned the entire institution’s contents on May 6, 1933 (80 years ago this month).
Imagine what the world might be if we still had all of his notes and the stories of hundreds of queer* identified and trans* identified individuals.
LGBTQ* KNOWhomo History Posts You May Have Missed
Gay (identified cis-)Men in History
(all posts can be found under the #history hashtag on the right side — click name to link to past post)
LGBTQ* Young Audience Books To Keep On Your Radar
(Following text from Good Reads)
“ninety percent of who you are is invisible.”
Amedeo Kaplan seems just like any other new kid who has moved into the town of St. Malo, Florida, a navy town where new faces are the norm. But Amedeo has a secret, a dream: More than anything in the world, he wants to discover something — a place, a process, even a fossil — some treasure that no one realizes is there until he finds it. And he would also like to discover a true friend to share these things with.
William Wilcox seems like an unlikely candidate for friendship: an aloof boy who is all edges and who owns silence the way other people own words. When Amedeo and William find themselves working together on a house sale for Amedeo’s eccentric neighbor, Mrs. Zender, Amedeo has an inkling that both his wishes may come true. For Mrs. Zender’s mansion is crammed with memorabilia of her long life, and there is a story to go with every piece. Soon the boys find themselves caught up in one particular story — a story that links a sketch, a young boy’s life, an old man’s reminiscence, and a painful secret dating back to the outrages of Nazi Germany. It’s a story that will take them to the edge of what they know about heroism and the mystery of the human heart.
Two-time Newbery winner E. L. Konigsburg spins a magnificent tale of art, discovery, friendship, history, and truth.
LGBTQ* History You Should Know
Paragraph 175 & Pink Triangle History
PARAGRAPH 175 — German Criminal Code
May 1871 - March 1994. From 1871 - 1994, over 130,000 men were held/charged with violation of Paragraph 175. For 123 years, this code criminalized homosexual acts between two men in Germany. It was with this law that homosexuals were persecuted during WWII in concentration camps.
PINK TRIANGLE — Color & shape given to gay/bisexual men in the concentration camps
Want to know more?
A Survivor’s Story — Read Here
Paragraph 175 — Read Here
Pink Triangle History — Read Here
(Upsetting) Post-Camp History — Read Here
Pink Triangle Memorial — Read Here
Theatre/Play about Pink Triangles: Bent — Read Here
Graphic Novel, including a Hitler Youth Homosexual Relationship — Read Here
LGBTQ* Stories of Survival
“I’m living proof that Hitler didn’t win.
I’m aware of that every day.” The speaker is Friedrich-Paul von Groszheim. (pictured above) At the age of eighty-eight, this charming gay man celebrates his birthday twice a year. “You never know,” he says.
One can hardly imagine the suffering he endured. Von Groszheim was among 230 men arrested in Lübeck in the course of a single evening in 1937. The police hauled him from his home and imprisoned him for ten months. He was released, but re-arrested. This time, the Nazi authorities forced him to choose between castration, or incarceration at the concentration camp in Sachsenhausen. He submitted to castration.
His nightmare had not ended, however. In 1943, von Groszheim was arrested a third time, and was put into a satellite camp of Neuengamme. He survived that ordel, but half a century would have to pass before he started to tell his story.
— Dr. Klaus Müller
Introduction to THE MEN WITH THE PINK TRIANGLE
LBGTQ* History Through Photographs
Nazis burn the library of Magnus Hirschfeld’s Institute for Sexual Science in Berlin, 1933.
In doing so countless texts and documentation of early 20th century LGBTQ* history disappears.
Remember, it’s never “just some books.”
LGBTQ* Plays, Monologues and Theatre
Bent by Martin Sherman
(check local theatres for productions of play — also a film staring Clive Owen, Mick Jagger, Jude Law and Ian McKellen)
Bent is an award-winning play about the persecution of homosexuals by Nazis during World War II. In Germany, the Nazi party’s program of genocide against any and all perceived “enemies” is coming into full swing when the party begins a violent purge of homosexuals in its membership. Max, a bisexual playboy, is attending an orgy thrown by drag queen “Greta” and featuring a number of party members when the festivities are raided by the police; Max and his lover Rudy escape, but they are later arrested and sentenced to a concentration camp. En route to the camp, Max betrays Rudy and arranges to be given a yellow identification star, marking him as a Jew, instead of a pink triangle, which would signify him as gay; while the Jews are destined to be executed, gay prisoners receive even more brutal treatment from the guards. While incarcerated, Max meets Horst, an inmate who proudly wears the pink triangle. Max and Horst fall in love with each other, and Horst’s bravery leads Max to accept his sexual identity.(from MoviePhone)
LGBTQ Comics, Graphic Novels and Illustrations
— Tina Anderson (Author), Caroline Monaco (Illustrator)
In 1941 Poland, silence is a way of life. Eighteen-year-old seminary student Koby Bruk has watched for two years as the people of his home town allowed the Germans to move in, displace homes and families, and impose their rule on the people who remain. When Koby is bullied by his classmate Irvine, he chooses to speak up against him. This doesn’t sit well with Irvine’s friend, Hitler Youth Oskar Keplar. Oskar corners Koby in an alleyway and makes a sinister promise.
The Pink Triangle
* The Pink Triangle was a badge designated for gay/homosexual (male) prisoners in the Concentration Camps during World War II
—> Pink Triangles were considered the “lowest” / “most insignificant” prisoner
(Pink Triangles could be paired with other triangles, like the yellow triangle, marking a prisoner as gay and Jewish)
* It is estimated over 50,000 men were detained/sentenced to punishment for being homosexual from 1933-1945
—> Estimated 5,000 - 15,000 of those men were sent to concentration camps
—> There is no official record of how many of those prisoners would go on to perish in the camps
— The play/film BENT focuses on the Pink Triangles
*In the 1970s the Pink Triangle was adopted by the gay rights movement(s) as a symbol of solidarity and pride
—> Some people link the reclaiming of the Pink Triangle with the release of THE MEN WITH THE PINK TRIANGLE (a memoir of survivor Heinz Heger)
LGBTQ* Historical Novels To Keep On Your Radar
BASED ON A TRUE STORY
Written by: Erica Fischer (Edna McCown translator)
Acclaimed in Germany and England, this tragic and remarkable real-life love story won a Lambda Literary Award when it was first published in America in 1995. Lilly Wust (“Aimée”) was a conventional middle-class mother of four, estranged from her philandering husband, when she met Felice Schragenheim (“Jaguar”) in 1941. Their passionate affair unfolded against the backdrop of the deportation of Jews from Berlin, but several months passed before Felice could even bring herself to tell Lilly that she was Jewish and living illegally on the streets. “I knew, of course, what it meant,” Lilly recalled in old age. “Not for a moment did I think that I too could be in danger. On the contrary, all I wanted to do now was to save her.” Lilly’s heroic efforts to conceal and protect Felice through the next two years make for painful and inspiring reading. Felice was arrested in August 1944 and sent her last letter to Lilly four months later. In 1981 Lilly was awarded the German Federal Service Cross, though no one could read this as a happy ending. —Regina Marler