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Robert Beachy: Gay Berlin

Robert Beachy: Gay Berlin

Birthplace of a Modern Identity. USA 2015, 305 pp., brochure,  18.95
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Vintage
Inhalt
A book about the ways in which the uninhibited urban sexuality, sexual experimentation, and medical advances of pre-Weimar Berlin created and molded our modern understanding of sexual orientation and gay identity. Known already in the 1850s for the friendly company of its »warm brothers«, Berlin, before the turn of the 20th century, became a place where scholars, activists, and medical professionals could explore and begin to educate both themselves and Europe about new and emerging sexual identities. From Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, a German activist described by some as the first openly gay man, to the world of Berlin's vast homosexual subcultures, to a major sex scandal that enraptured the daily newspapers and shook the court of Emperor William II - and on through some of the very first sex reassignment surgeries. Chapter by chapter Beachy’s scholarship illuminates forgotten firsts, including the life and work of Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, first to claim (in 1896) that same-sex desire is an immutable, biologically determined characteristic, and founder of the Institute for Sexual Science. Though raided and closed down by the Nazis in 1933, the institute served as, among other things, »a veritable incubator for the science of transsexuality«, scene of one of the world’s first sex reassignment surgeries. Fascinating, surprising, and informative - »Gay Berlin« is certain to be counted as a foundational cultural examination of human sexuality.
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