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.
An unprecedented examination of 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´´ (German slang for men who love other men), Berlin, before the turn of the twentieth 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-Robert Beachy uncovers the long-forgotten events and characters that continue to shape and influence the way we think of sexuality today. 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 tran-sexuality,´´ 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.
Berlin Then and Now captures the stark contrast between what came before and after the great conflicts of the twentieth century, using archival photographs of the city´s grand buildings, monuments, and boulevards alongside modern views of the same scenes today. Few cities in Europe have undergone as many transformations as Berlin in the past hundred years, or have risen from the rubble to stand as proud and vibrant as the city does today. Nick Gay´s book shows the effects of Hitler´s building plans of the 1930s, Allied bombing in World War II and the post-war division of the city into East and West and the subsequent reunification after 1989. Sites include: Brandenburg Gate, Pariser Platz, Hotel Adlon, the Reich Chancellery, Ministry of Aviation, Unter den Linden, Royal Opera House, Neue Wache, Berlin University, Palace Bridge, Lustgarten, Berliner Dom, Rotes Rathaus, Nikolaiviertel, Alexanderplatz, Muhlendamm, Gendarmenmarkt, Checkpoint Charlie, Wertheim Department Store, Potsdamer Platz, Death Strip, SS Headquarters, Anhalter Station, Siegessaule, Soviet War Memorial,Tempelhof Airport, Charlottenburg Palace, Olympic Stadium, Spandau Prison and Wannsee Conference Villa.
In 1951, a new type of publication appeared on newsstands?the physique magazine produced by and for gay men. For many men growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, these magazines and their images and illustrations of nearly naked men, as well as articles, letters from readers, and advertisements, served as an initiation into gay culture. The publishers behind them were part of a wider world of ?physique entrepreneurs?: men as well as women who ran photography studios, mail-order catalogs, pen-pal services, book clubs, and niche advertising for gay audiences. Such businesses have often been seen as peripheral to the gay political movement. In this book, David K. Johnson shows how gay commerce was not a byproduct but rather an important catalyst for the gay rights movement.Offering a vivid look into the lives of physique entrepreneurs and their customers, and presenting a wealth of illustrations, Buying Gay explores the connections?and tensions?between the market and the movement. With circulation rates many times higher than the openly political ?homophile? magazines, physique magazines were the largest gay media outlets of their time. This network of producers and consumers helped foster a gay community and upend censorship laws, paving the way for open expression. Physique entrepreneurs were at the center of legal struggles, especially against the U.S. Post Office, including the court victory that allowed full-frontal male nudity and open homoeroticism. Buying Gay reconceives the history of the gay rights movement and shows how consumer culture helped create community and a site for resistance.