Berlin's Third Sex by Magnus Hirschfeld
Rough trade, drag kings, tea dances, sporty dykes, coded classified ads, campy nicknames, passing, outing, hustlers, beats and cruising at the YMCA – all accompanied by a wave of gay and lesbian activism. Eighties New York? No, Germany’s imperial capital at the dawn of the 20th century. Berlin’s Third Sex reveals an astonishingly diverse gay subculture years ahead of the Weimar era, with cross-dressing cabaret, all-night parties and erotic licence at every level of society. Magnus Hirschfeld’s 1904 report is a foundational text of modern gay identity, queer history captured by an insider, as it happened. Police, blackmailers and moral crusaders are never far, suicide is all too common, but Hirschfeld also invites us into the homes of same-sex couples to witness tranquil scenes of domesticity and devotion. Berlin’s Third Sex formed part of the vast ‘Metropolis Documents’ project, a visionary panorama of early 20th century urban life. This, the first part of the series to appear in English, is offered alongside an earlier Hirschfeld study of the ‘third sex’ (the author’s provisional term for gays and lesbians) as well as comprehensive notes and an informative afterword.
Imprint: Rixdorf Editions
Publication Date: 2017
(First Published 1904)