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Dr Magnus Hirschfeld (1868 - 1935) The First Gay Activist

Updated on April 3, 2012
Born may 14th 1868 in Kohlberg Germany, (now Krolzberg, Poland) was Magnus Hirschfeld who was to become a pioneer for the study of sexual sciences. In 1896 a young medical doctor (Magnus Hirschfeld) in Magdeburg published his first book “Sappho und Sakrotes” which put forward an argument that homosexual love is part of human sexuality.

Dr Hirschfeld himself a homosexual understood the vulnerability of those who became scapegoat in the populations and the need for organisation. He then formed the Scientific Humanitarian Committee and urged homosexuals from all walks of life to come out and get involved in the growing campaign for emancipation that developed, he even coined the phrase Transvestitism and wrote a book about it.

Dr Magnus Hirschfeld (1868 - 1935) became a pioneer to the homosexual populous of Germany and should never be forgotten for his work in reforming the laws criminalizing homosexuality in Germany.

Dr Magnus Hirschfeld founded the ‘Institute For Sexual Science’ in Berlin who researched and discussed marital problems, sexually transmitted diseases, and also the laws referring to abortion and homosexuality. Himself a homosexual and author of many works he led efforts for three decades to reform laws criminalizing homosexuality in Germany.

On May 6th 1933 the Nazis ransacked the institute taking the books and files they considered to be ungerman to a large public book burning four days later, destroying them all. At the time of the raid on the institute Dr Hirschfeld was in France where he remained until his death in 1935.

Some of the works that Dr Magnus Hirschfield published are:

Men And Women: The World Journey Of A Sexologist

Sex In Human Relationships

Transvestites: The Erotic Drive To Cross Dress (New Concepts In Human Sexuality)

Homosexuality Of Men And Women

A book written about the achievments of Magnus Hirschfeld by Charlotte Wolff

Magnus Hirschfield - A Portrait Of A Pioneer In Sexology

All information here can be found at

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    • calpol25 profile image

      Callum 6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (At Home With My Wonderful Partner)

      I agree, he was the man of the century Dr Magnus Hirschfeld but I wish we could bring him back to see what we have achieved in the past 100 yrs :)

    • alian346 profile image

      alian346 6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland

      Far and away ahead of his time. If we could only somehow ressurect him and show him how far we'd come he would be gobsmacked. Without pioneers like him it would not have been possible.


    • calpol25 profile image

      Callum 6 years ago from Edinburgh, Scotland, UK (At Home With My Wonderful Partner)

      Hi D.william will certainly agree there, because one man in the catholic church says its illegal and an abomination the sheep believe him... Terrible but true and its still carries on today. Thanks for commenting and great to hear from you too :-)

    • d.william profile image

      d.william 6 years ago from Somewhere in the south

      Wow. Good article. I had no idea there were such rebels living in the 1800's. The plight of the gay community has been a long tedious uphill battle against their persecution that began in the 1500's after the Roman catholic church (owned by the Roman Government) declared homosexuality as against the law, then later the bible was revised to add it as an 'abomination against God' because people were not obeying that stupid law by the Romans. I have done several articles on this very subject, and still find it hard to believe that this ignorant belief is still so prevalent today. It is a true brainwashing phenomenon passed down from generation to generation that certainly depicts just how sheep like humans really are. see my hub: OUR WORLD TODAY, UNDERSTANDING THE SHEEP MENTALITY.