Magnus Hirschfeld, Dangerous Man – a bit of history

“Adolf Hitler personally denounced Hirschfeld, who was a socialist as well as a homosexual as ‘the most dangerous Jew in Germany.'”

Who was this dangerous man?

Magnus Hirschfeld was a sexologist in the early 20th century. He was also “a pioneering advocate for transgender people. As early as 1910 he had written The Transvestites, the first book-length treatment of transgender phenomenon. He worked with the Berlin police department to end the harassment and targeting for arrest of transgender people. Transgender people worked on the staff of the Institute for Sexual Science (albeit as receptionists and maids), and some were part of Hirschfeld’s social circle as well, including Dora Richter. Richter underwent the first documented male-to-female genital transformation surgery in 1931, arranged on her behalf by Hirschfeld himself. Hirschfeld was the linchpin, and his institute the hub, of the international network of transgender people and progressive medical experts who set the stage for the post-World War II transgender movement.”

He probably did not invent the word, transvestite, however. You can read more about the origin of the word here.

Hirschfeld left Germany and “in 1933, fascist vigilantes ransacked and destroyed Hirschfeld’s Institute in Berlin.” Hirschfeld settled on the French Riviera.

Quotes from Transgender History by Susan Stryker, page 39.

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