In this lecture, Robert Beachy presents the broad argument from his book Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity (published in November 2014 and in German translation last June). Beachy argues that German legal reformers and medical doctors invented a new language to describe an “essentialist” sexual identity that helped to shape Berlin’s community of sexual minorities, both before and after the First World War. As a city of firsts, Berlin hosted the first homosexual journal, the first homosexual rights organization, the first Institute for Sexual Science, and the first sex reassignment surgeries. According to Beachy, Berlin’s contributions still influence our thinking about sex and gender to this day.
28 Oct 15