Category Archives: Sex History

How the Nazis destroyed the first gay rights movement

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‘Damenkneipe,’ or ‘Ladies’ Saloon,’ painted by Rudolf Schlichter in 1923. In 1937, many of his paintings were destroyed by the Nazis as ‘degenerate art.’

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Very recently, Germany’s Cabinet approved a bill that will expunge the convictions of tens of thousands of German men for “homosexual acts” under that country’s anti-gay law known as “Paragraph 175.” That law dates back to 1871, when modern Germany’s first legal code was created.

It was repealed in 1994. But there was a serious movement to repeal the law in 1929 as part of a wider LGBTQ rights movement. That was just before the Nazis came to power, magnified the anti-gay law, then sought to annihilate gay and transgender Europeans.

The story of how close Germany – and much of Europe – came to liberating its LGBTQ people before violently reversing that trend under new authoritarian regimes is an object lesson showing that the history of LGBTQ rights is not a record of constant progress.

The first LGBTQ liberation movement

In the 1920s, Berlin had nearly 100 gay and lesbian bars or cafes. Vienna had about a dozen gay cafes, clubs and bookstores. In Paris, certain quarters were renowned for open displays of gay and trans nightlife. Even Florence, Italy, had its own gay district, as did many smaller European cities.

Films began depicting sympathetic gay characters. Protests were organized against offensive depictions of LGBTQ people in print or on stage. And media entrepreneurs realized there was a middle-class gay and trans readership to whom they could cater.

Partly driving this new era of tolerance were the doctors and scientists who started looking at homosexuality and “transvestism” (a word of that era that encompassed transgender people) as a natural characteristic with which some were born, and not a “derangement.” The story of Lili Elbe and the first modern sex change, made famous in the recent film “The Danish Girl,” reflected these trends.

For example, Berlin opened its Institute for Sexual Research in 1919, the place where the word “transsexual” was coined, and where people could receive counseling and other services. Its lead doctor, Magnus Hirschfeld, also consulted on the Lili Elbe sex change.

Connected to this institute was an organization called the “Scientific-Humanitarian Committee.” With the motto “justice through science,” this group of scientists and LGBTQ people promoted equal rights, arguing that LGBTQ people were not aberrations of nature.

Most European capitals hosted a branch of the group, which sponsored talks and sought the repeal of Germany’s “Paragraph 175.” Combining with other liberal groups and politicians, it succeeded in influencing a German parliamentary committee to recommend the repeal to the wider government in 1929.

The backlash

While these developments didn’t mean the end of centuries of intolerance, the 1920s and early ‘30s certainly looked like the beginning of the end. On the other hand, the greater “out-ness” of gay and trans people provoked their opponents.

A French reporter, bemoaning the sight of uncloseted LGBTQ people in public, complained, “the contagion … is corrupting every milieu.” The Berlin police grumbled that magazines aimed at gay men – which they called “obscene press materials” – were proliferating. In Vienna, lectures of the “Scientific Humanitarian Committee” might be packed with supporters, but one was attacked by young men hurling stink bombs. A Parisian town councilor in 1933 called it “a moral crisis” that gay people, known as “inverts” at that time, could be seen in public.

“Far be it from me to want to turn to fascism,” the councilor said, “but all the same, we have to agree that in some things those regimes have sometimes done good… One day Hitler and Mussolini woke up and said, ‘Honestly, the scandal has gone on long enough’ … And … the inverts … were chased out of Germany and Italy the very next day.”

The ascent of Fascism

It’s this willingness to make a blood sacrifice of minorities in exchange for “normalcy” or prosperity that has observers drawing uncomfortable comparisons between then and now.

In the 1930s, the Depression spread economic anxiety, while political fights in European parliaments tended to spill outside into actual street fights between Left and Right. Fascist parties offered Europeans a choice of stability at the price of democracy. Tolerance of minorities was destabilizing, they said. Expanding liberties gave “undesirable” people the liberty to undermine security and threaten traditional “moral” culture. Gay and trans people were an obvious target.

What happened next shows the whiplash speed with which the progress of a generation can be thrown into reverse.

The nightmare

One day in May 1933, pristine white-shirted students marched in front of Berlin’s Institute for Sexual Research – that safe haven for LGBTQ people – calling it “Un-German.” Later, a mob hauled out its library to be burned. Later still, its acting head was arrested.

When Nazi leader Adolph Hitler needed to justify arresting and murdering former political allies in 1934, he said they were gay. This fanned anti-gay zealotry by the Gestapo, which opened a special anti-gay branch. During the following year alone, the Gestapo arrested more than 8,500 gay men, quite possibly using a list of names and addresses seized at the Institute for Sexual Research. Not only was Paragraph 175 not erased, as a parliamentary committee had recommended just a few years before, it was amended to be more expansive and punitive.

As the Gestapo spread throughout Europe, it expanded the hunt. In Vienna, it hauled in every gay man on police lists and questioned them, trying to get them to name others. The fortunate ones went to jail. The less fortunate went to Buchenwald and Dachau. In conquered France, Alsace police worked with the Gestapo to arrest at least 200 men and send them to concentration camps. Italy, with a fascist regime obsessed with virility, sent at least 300 gay men to brutal camps during the war period, declaring them “dangerous for the integrity of the race.”

The total number of Europeans arrested for being LGBTQ under fascism is impossible to know because of the lack of reliable records. But a conservative estimate is that there were many tens of thousands to one hundred thousand arrests during the war period alone.

Under these nightmare conditions, far more LGBTQ people in Europe painstakingly hid their genuine sexuality to avoid suspicion, marrying members of the opposite sex, for example. Still, if they had been prominent members of the gay and trans community before the fascists came to power, as Berlin lesbian club owner Lotte Hahm was, it was too late to hide. She was sent to a concentration camp.

In those camps, gay men were marked with a pink triangle. In these places of horror, men with pink triangles were singled out for particular abuse. They were mechanically raped, castrated, favored for medical experiments and murdered for guards’ sadistic pleasure even when they were not sentenced for “liquidation.” One gay man attributed his survival to swapping his pink triangle for a red one – indicating he was merely a Communist. They were ostracized and tormented by their fellow inmates, too.

The looming danger of a backslide

This isn’t 1930s Europe. And making superficial comparisons between then and now can only yield superficial conclusions.

But with new forms of authoritarianism entrenched and seeking to expand in Europe and beyond, it’s worth thinking about the fate of Europe’s LGBTQ community in the 1930s and ‘40s – a timely note from history as Germany approves same-sex marriage and on this first anniversary of Obergefell v. Hodges.

In 1929, Germany came close to erasing its anti-gay law, only to see it strengthened soon thereafter. Only now, after a gap of 88 years, are convictions under that law being annulled.

Complete Article HERE!

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Why queer history?

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By Jennifer Evans

Fifteen years ago, as a junior scholar, I was advised not to publish my first book on the persecution of gay men in Germany. And now, one of the major journals in the field has devoted an entire special issue to the theme of queering German history. We have come a long way in recognising the merits of the history of sexuality–and same-sex sexuality by extension–as integral to the study of family, community, citizenship, and human rights. LGBT History Month provides a moment of reflection about struggles past and present affecting the LGBT communities. But it also allows us a moment to think collectively, as a discipline, about the methods and practices of history-making that have opened space to new lines of inquiry, rendering new historical actors visible in the process. In asking the question “why queer history? ” not only do we think about how we got here and the merits of doing this kind of work, but we question, too, whether such recuperative approaches always lead to more expansive, inclusive history. In other words, to queer history is not just to add more people to the historical record, it is a methodological engagement with how knowledge over the past is generated in the first place.

The great social movements of the 20th century created conditions for new kinds of historical claims making as working and indigenous people, women, and people of colour demanded that their stories be told. Social history, and later the cultural turn, provided the tools for the job. Guided by a politics of inclusivity, this first wave of analyses by scholars like the extraordinary John Boswell searched out evidence of a historical gay and lesbian identity–even marriage–in the early modern and medieval period. Michel Foucault’s History of Sexuality vol. 3 would fundamentally alter the playing field, as he questioned the veracity of such quests, arguing that it said far more about our contemporary need for redress than about history itself. Modern homosexual identity–he instructed historians –first emerged in the 19th century through the rise of modern medical and legal mechanisms of regulation and control. The discipline was turned on its head. Instead of detail-rich studies of friendship, “marriage”, and kinship a whole new subfield emerged focused around the penal code, policing, and deviance. In the process of unmasking the mechanisms of power that circumscribed the life of the homosexual, lost from view was the history of pleasure, of love, and even of lust. Although providing a much-needed critique of homophobic institutions, the result was a disproportionate concentration on the coercive modernity of the contemporary age.

And yet, despite these pitfalls, the Foucauldian turn introduced much-needed interdisciplinarity into historical analyses of same-sex practices. Of those who took up the challenge of a critical history of sexuality that sidestepped the pitfalls of finding a fully formed pre-modern identity were medievalists and early modernists keen on questions of periodization and temporality, basically how people in past societies held distinct ways of knowing and being what it meant to live outside the norm. If Foucault had fundamentally destabilised how we understood normalcy and deviance, these scholars wanted to take the discussion further still, to interrogate how the experience of time itself reflected the presumptions and experiences of the heteronormative life course.

By queering history, we move beyond what Laura Doan has called out as the field’s genealogical mooring towards a methodology that might even be used to study non-sexuality topics because of the emphasis on self-reflexivity and critique of overly simplistic, often binary, analyses. A queered history questions claims to a singular, linear march of time and universal experience and points out the unconscious ways in which progressive narrative arcs often seep into our analyses. To queer the past is to view it skeptically, to pull apart its constitutive pieces and analyse them from a variety of perspectives, taking nothing for granted.

This special issue on “Queering German History” picks up here. Keenly attuned to how power manifests as a subject of study in its own right as well as something we reproduce despite our best intentions to right past wrongs, a queer methodology emphasises overlap, contingency, competing forces, and complexity. It asks us to linger over our own assumptions and interrogate the role they play in the past we seek out and recreate in our own writing. To queer history, then, is to think about how even our best efforts of historical restitution might inadvertently circumscribe what is, in fact, discernible in the past despite attempts to make visible alternative ways of being in the world in the present.

Such concerns have profound implications for how we write our histories going forward. Whereas it was once difficult to countenance that LGBT lives might take their rightful place in the canon, the question we still have to account for is whose lives remain obscure while others acquire much-needed attention? While we celebrate how far we’ve come–and it is a huge victory, to be sure–let us not forget there still remains much work to be done.

Complete Article HERE!

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Florida Legislature Once Published Anti-Gay Pamphlet Full of Softcore Porn

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Florida Legislature Once Published Anti-Gay Pamphlet Full of Softcore Porn

June is officially LGBT Pride Month in America, but Miami-Dade’s only local celebration — Miami Beach’s gay pride party — is held in April. So instead of showing you footage of parades or slide shows of revelers, we decided to take the opportunity to look back at one of the gayest things ever produced by the Florida state government — which conversely was also one of the most homophobic things ever published by the Florida government.

How gay? Well, this was the title page of the officially published state document:

Florida Legislature Once Published Anti-Gay Pamphlet Full of Softcore Porn (2)

The pamphlet, dubbed the “Purple Pamphlet” for its lavender-hued front cover, was the work of the Florida Legislative Investigation Committee. The committee was the brainchild of Charley Eugene Johns, a former governor who had taken office only after the death of his predecessor and was then promptly kicked out by voters and forced to return to the legislature. Because hunting for commies was all the rage in the late 1950s, Johns and his committee tried to do just that.

They searched everywhere — the NAACP, the historically black college Florida A&M University, anti-Castro groups, pro-Castro groups — OK, not everywhere, but you get the picture.

Turns out the committee wasn’t very good at rooting out communists in Florida, so in the ’60s, it turned its sights on homosexuals. As people are now generally aware, homosexuals, unlike organized communists, have existed everywhere throughout human history, so the committee was much more successful at finding them in the Sunshine State.

The committee first went searching Florida’s schools, causing the firing of 39 professors and deans from Florida universities for suspected homosexuality and the revoking of the licenses of 71 public schoolteachers. Several students were also expelled for being homosexual.

Emboldened, the committee members then took a look at homosexuality in Florida outside the world of academics — and, boy, did they find some things that excited them. The result of their work was the so-called Purple Pamphlet, whose introduction stresses that the document may be of use to “every individual concerned with the moral climate of the state.”

Take a look at page 6 of the pamphlet!

Florida Legislature Once Published Anti-Gay Pamphlet Full of Softcore Porn (3)

“Homosexuality is, and far too long has been, a skeleton in the closet of society,” the pamphlet begins, and then it’s just a bunch of homophobic garbage from there on.

But in between the anti-gay rants is a liberal sprinkling of softcore gay photos. How about some more of those pics?

Florida Legislature Once Published Anti-Gay Pamphlet Full of Softcore Porn (4)

There are more photos in the pamphlet, but they include images of little boys, so we won’t reproduce them here.

Aside from the photos, of particular note is the pamphlet’s extensive glossary, which painstakingly details gay slang. Some of the words are still in use today, and some are decidedly not.

Florida Legislature Once Published Anti-Gay Pamphlet Full of Softcore Porn (5)
Florida Legislature Once Published Anti-Gay Pamphlet Full of Softcore Porn (6)
Florida Legislature Once Published Anti-Gay Pamphlet Full of Softcore Porn (7)

What came first, the chicken or the twink?

Florida Legislature Once Published Anti-Gay Pamphlet Full of Softcore Porn (9)
Florida Legislature Once Published Anti-Gay Pamphlet Full of Softcore Porn (10)
Florida Legislature Once Published Anti-Gay Pamphlet Full of Softcore Porn (11)
Florida Legislature Once Published Anti-Gay Pamphlet Full of Softcore Porn (12)

It turns out the printing of this pamphlet did not go over too well. Some critics called it state-sponsored pornography, and fellow legislators voted to cut all funding for the committee in the next session.

Naturally, the pamphlet has gone on to achieve cult status in Florida.
Complete Article HERE!

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Joining The Resistance

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Name: Green Guy
Gender: Male
Age: 44
Location: Lowell, MA
Dr. Dick I am an African American gay man who was reared in a very psychologically abusive and conservative southern environment. I am very inexperienced with relationships, dating and sex. In fact, I have been celibate for the last five years, trying to figure out how I got so psychologically fucked up and what to do about it. I was in therapy for quite a while, but I still have many issues to deal with, including trusting men. I would like to be in a healthy relationship, but I don’t even know where to start. I feel that my personal life has been a total disaster. I want to change things around, but I feel utterly lost. Although I am professionally successful, I have serious issues with my body. I am somewhat overweight, but have recently joined a gym to get in shape. I just feel totally hideous, and depressed (I am on medication), and don’t believe any guy would ever be interested in me. Please help!!

Holy Cow, darlin’, you sure do know how to let it all hang out, huh? Did you notice how may superlatives you used: “very abusive, many issues, total disaster, serious issues, totally hideous” to mention a few. It’s clear to me, and probably any other human that comes near you, that you are soooo not ready for a relationship. In fact, if you are as icky and psychologically fucked up as you say, if you can’t trust anyone, if you’re a dating klutz, if you are totally hideous and misshapen, then why not just let it go and spare any other person the torture of being involved with you? You’re right, what guy in his right mind would be interested in the likes of you?

Ok, you see what I’m doing here? I’m joining the resistance. You want to pile it on yourself, swell. I’ll join you. I’ll pile on too and together we’ll heap on the insults and contempt until you can’t stand it any more, until you reach your tolerance for self abuse (and not the good kind). And from what I can gather, that’s gonna take some piling on. Of course, you could quit this self-abuse at any time. Seems to me 44 years of negative and undercutting behavior is plenty…even for you.

None of us is without our issues, my friend, least of all me. But to navigate social situations, even casual ones, one needs to be able to judge what the traffic can bear. If you come on like gangbusters, like you did in your message to me, you’re finished even before you begin.

Whatever therapy you did in the past, it either didn’t work or it didn’t have any lasting effects. Find a therapist that will challenge you not stroke you. Find someone that will jump on your shit, someone who will care enough about you to disallow you from hurting yourself with such cruel remarks about yourself.

When I have a client like you in my private practice I always lay down the law. For every self-critical thing you say about yourself, you must say something nice about yourself. That shuts the client up in a hurry. Once he or she is quiet enough to listen we start pulling apart the tangle of their self-hatred.

You were abused as a kid. Sadly, so are lots of kids. But that’s in the past. I’m sure you have scars, but who doesn’t have scar tissue. You don’t know how to interact with others socially, that a skill that can be learned. You’re fat and out of shape? You’re going to the gym to address that. You’re depressed even on antidepressants? Well, no wonder you’re sick of yourself. And that has got to stop, NOW.

Before you consider asking anyone else to love you — with all your flaws — you’re gonna have to learn to love yourself — with all your flaws. If you can’t do that, then don’t expect anyone else to do it before you do. Get off your pity pot and get to work. You say you are successful in your professional life. (Frankly I don’t see how that’s possible given the litany of your liabilities.) But for the sake of argument, let’s say you are telling the truth. How did you come to be a successful professional without at least some redeeming qualities? That is unless you are a professional executioner, or a professional hit man, or a politician.

You see you can’t have it both ways. If you have skill enough to make yourself a success in your professional life, then you have skill enough to make yourself a success in your private life. With the help of this new therapist you’re gonna get — the one who is not going to let you get away with your shit — you’re gonna learn how to marshal and channel the aptitudes you have that make you successful in one area of your life, to make you a success the other areas of your life.

Good luck

Name: Jose
Gender: Male
Age: 20
Location: Norwalk, CT
how can i approuch a good stripper to get into sex? even tho they just strip some do more off work. How do I know they are willing to do it?

I’m gonna go way out on a limb here and guess that English is not your first language, right Jose? I think I understand what you are asking. Let’s just hope the women you approach will also understand you’re meaning.

So OK, you know this fine stripper and you want to have sex with her, right? Swell! First thing you oughta know is that not all strippers are hookers. Some simply strip because they make really good money. They don’t sell sex, mostly because they don’t have to. The strippers that do offer sexual favors for a fee, don’t do so where they strip. It’s bad for business and, I hasten to point out, it’s against the law— except if you’re in Nevada — and you’re not.

There are two real good ways to go about this hunt for stripper sex. First, you could ask the vixen out on a real date. Personally I think this is the best way of going about gettin laid by any woman. If the woman, stripper or whatever, is available for a date, and you’re not a totally creepy putz, she might take you up on the offer. Just remember, many strippers already have a boyfriend, and he wouldn’t look kindly on you trying to hustle his filly, if you catch my drift.

Also, some stripping establishments prohibit their employees from fucking with the customers. If that’s the policy at the joint you frequent, let it go. Don’t pester the woman for something that will jeopardize her job. However, if she does accept the date, and all goes well, and you charm the pants off her, literally, you just might get a little slap and tickle. I just hope we’re clear on the concept that if any woman, especially a sex worker, accepts a dinner invitation it is not the same thing as saying she’ll fuck you, right? GOOD!

The second option is to ask the stripper if she does escort work on the side. Again, some stripping establishments prohibit their strippers from fraternizing with customers in any way, shape or form, especially fucking them. You ought also know that if the woman in question is indeed an escort as well as a stripper, your “date” with her is gonna cost ya. These women are professionals; so you’d do well to treat them with the respect you’d offer any other professional woman.

Never, under any circumstance, offer to pay a stripper…or any woman for that matter…for sex. That would be pandering prostitution, and that’s against the law. If the woman in question is an escort, she will be exchanging her time, the pleasure of her company and her expertise for money; not sex for money. Get it? If she’s smart she won’t give you a second chance to get this right. So if you fuck up asking her the first time you may be out of luck forever.

My advice to you is, figure out ahead of time which way you want to go on this — a real date or escort hook up. Then approach her like a gentleman. If she’s not interested, respect her decision to decline your offer with grace and dignity.

Good luck

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Sex Advice With An Edge — Podcast #18 — 06/18/07

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Hey sex fans,

I have a great show for you today. We celebrate Gay Pride Week with several luscious questions from the sexually worrisome with an equal number of cheeky, amiable and oh so informative responses by me! Hey, it’s what I do.

  • Happenstance is concerned about the new Surgeon General Nominee.
  • Robin got herself some backdoor action. What’s up with her BF?
  • Gabe is thinking about seeking professional help.
  • Michael is a hot bi-guy lookin’ for some action. He cums with his own chair.
  • And finally, Great Moments in Sex History — The Stonewall Riots.

BE THERE, OR BE SQUARE!

Check out The Lick-A-Dee-Split Connection. That’s dr dick’s toll free podcast voicemail. Don’t worry people; no one will personally answer the phone. Your message goes directly to voicemail.

Got a question? No time to write? Give dr dick a call at (866) 422-5680. Again, the TOLL FREE voicemail number is (866) 422-5680. DON’T BE SHY, LET IT FLY !

Look for my podcasts on iTunes. You’ll fine me in the health section under the subheading — Sexuality. Or just search for Dr Dick Sex Advice With An Edge. And don’t forget to subscribe. I don’t want you to miss even one episode.

Say, would you like to become a sponsor for one or more of my weekly sex advice podcasts? As you know, I plug a product or service at the beginning and end of each show. Each podcast has its own posting on my site along with the name of the podcast sponsor and a banner for the product or service.

The beauty part about this unique opportunity is that once a sponsor’s ad is included in a particular podcast that sponsor is embedded there forever.

Your sponsorship also underscores your social conscience. Your marketing dollars will not only got to promote your product, but you will be doing so while helping to disseminate badly needed sex education and sexual enrichment messages. Simply put, ya just can’t get a better bang for your advertising buck!

For further information, contact me at: dr_dick@drdicksexadvice.com

Today’s podcast is once again bought to you by: DR DICK’S HOW TO VIDEO LIBRARY.

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