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Laurie Marhoefer: Racism and the Making of Gay Rights

Laurie Marhoefer: Racism and the Making of Gay Rights

A Sexologist, His Student, and the Empire of Queer Love. CAN 2022, 320 pp., brochure, € 49.95
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University of Toronto Press
In 1931 Magnus Hirschfeld arrived in colonial Shanghai to give a public lecture about homosexuality. In the audience was a Li Shiu Tong, medical student - Magnus Hirschfeld fell in love with him. Li became Hirschfeld's assistant on a lecture tour around the world. »Racism and the Making of Gay Rights« shows how Hirschfeld laid the groundwork for modern gay rights, and how he did so by also borrowing from a disturbing set of racist, imperial, and eugenic ideas. Following Hirschfeld and Li in their travels through the American, Dutch, and British empires, from Manila to Tel Aviv to having tea with Langston Hughes in New York City, and then into exile in Hitler's Europe, Laurie Marhoefer provides a vivid portrait of queer lives in the 1930s and of the turbulent, often-forgotten first chapter of gay rights.
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