Magnus Hirschfeld  

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"I was in my early twenties when I first came upon Dr Magnus Hirschfeld’s Sexual Anomalies and Perversions, subtitled ‘A textbook for students, psychologists, criminologists, probation officers, judges, educationalists and all adults . This impressive description was obviously an attempt to forestall a prosecution for pornography - the book was usually to be seen in the windows of shops that sold rupture trusses, sex aids and encyclopedias of sexual behaviour. In those days before the permissive society, such works would never have been found in respectable bookshops."--The Misfits: A Study of Sexual Outsiders (1988) by Colin Wilson


"Magnus Hirschfeld, the son of a Jewish doctor, was born in 1868. He recognised his own homosexual inclinations from an early age, and was deeply shocked when one of his patients, a young officer, committed suicide on the eve of his marriage because he felt guilty about his unnatural desire’ for men. This resulted in Hirschfeld’s first medical publication, a pamphlet called ‘Sappho and Socrates - How can one explain the love of men and women for their own sex?’. In 1896, the year Ellis’s Sexual Inversion was published in Germany, Hirschfeld also argued that homosexuality is biological in origin. In her biography of Hirschfeld (1986), Dr Charlotte Wolff dismisses Hirschfeld’s theories as ‘confused and contradictory’, and argues that hormones have little, if anything, to do with homosexuality. Yet modern scientific research is on Hirschfeld’s side."--The Misfits: A Study of Sexual Outsiders (1988) by Colin Wilson

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Magnus Hirschfeld (1868 – 1935) was a Jewish German physician and sexologist, whose citizenship was later revoked by the Nazi government. Hirschfeld was educated in philosophy, philology and medicine. An outspoken advocate for sexual minorities, Hirschfeld founded the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee and World League for Sexual Reform. He based his practice in Berlin-Charlottenburg during the Weimar period and was an early LGBT activist.

Hirschfeld is regarded as one of the most influential sexologists of the 20th century. He was targeted by early fascists and later the Nazis for being Jewish and gay. He was beaten by Völkisch movement activists in 1920, and in 1933 his Institut für Sexualwissenschaft was looted and had its books burned by Nazis. Hirschfeld was forced into exile in France, where he died in 1935.

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