Winner of Randy Shilts Award In the half century before the Nazis rose to power, Berlin became the undisputed gay capital of the world. Activists and medical professionals made it a city of firsts-the first gay journal, the first homosexual rights organization, the first Institute for Sexual Science, the first sex reassignment surgeries-exploring and educating themselves and the rest of the world about new ways of understanding the human condition. In this fascinating examination of how the uninhibited urban culture of Berlin helped create our categories of sexual orientation and gender identity, Robert Beachy guides readers through the past events and developments that continue to shape and influence our thinking about sex and gender to this day.
In a hugely ambitious study that crosses continents, languages, and almost a century, Gregory Woods identifies the ways in which homosexuality has helped shape Western culture. Extending from the trials of Oscar Wilde to the gay liberation era, this book examines a period in which increased visibility made acceptance of homosexuality one of the measures of modernity. Woods shines a revealing light on the diverse, informal networks of gay people in the arts and other creative fields. Uneasily called ´´the Homintern´´ (an echo of Lenin´s ´´Comintern´´) by those suspicious of an international homosexual conspiracy, such networks connected gay writers, actors, artists, musicians, dancers, filmmakers, politicians, and spies. While providing some defense against dominant heterosexual exclusion, the grouping brought solidarity, celebrated talent, and, in doing so, invigorated the majority culture. Woods introduces an enormous cast of gifted and extraordinary characters, most of them operating with surprising openness, but also explores such issues as artistic influence, the coping strategies of minorities, the hypocrisies of conservatism, and the effects of positive and negative discrimination. Traveling from Harlem in the 1910s to 1920s Paris, 1930s Berlin, 1950s New York, and beyond, this sharply observed, warm-spirited book presents a surpassing portrait of 20th-century gay culture and the men and women who both redefined themselves and changed history. 1. Language: English. Narrator: John Sackville. Audio sample: http://samples.audible.de/bk/adbl/027231/bk_adbl_027231_sample.mp3. Digital audiobook in aax.