Sunday, May 13, 2007

May 14 -- Happy 139th Birthday, Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld!

In this amnesiac era when every twink who's ever been a member of an boy band is considered a courageous gay hero and leader, let us remember on May 14 the life and times of Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, born and died on this day.
Hirschfeld was born on May 14, 1868, in Kolberg, Germany, and died on this day in 1935, in Nice, France, after years of persecution from his Nazi enemies.
He's a true giant of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender communities around the globe, and his legacy and brave work on behalf of queers in his troubled times, when it wasn't at all popular to be an avowed homosexual and one calling for an end to legal and medical harassment of us, must continually be acknowledged and taught to gays of all ages, newly emerging from the closet and in need of a homo-history lesson.
2007 marks no special rounded-year mark of Hirschfeld's birth 139 years ago, and his demise, 72 years ago, making it a bit difficult to generate some attention for the importance of May 14, but that is no reason for me at least not try to get other gay bloggers to blog about Hirshfeld today.
Fellow gay bloggers -- post messages and diaries on Hirshfeld on May 14. Reach your audience not only about this man, but also call for more general homo-history teaching so we all gain a better understanding of our forebears.
I've always been horribly annoyed whenever homophobic forces have called for lesser equality for us because we don't procreate and build families only through birth and blood relations.
Of course, all gays come from our biological families, and many of us are blessed with loving family members who accept and value us, but we also have our self-created gay family structures and relationships, very much of a tribal nature.
And in the gay tribe of which I belong, my family was really started by Hirschfeld, whom I view as a great-great grandfather to my generation. This also means I see a lineage from Hirshfeld to the German homosexuals forced to wear pink triangles, to Americans Frank Kameny and Barbara Gittings who agitated for gay equality in the 1950s, to the Radical Faeries and ACT UP activists of the 1980s, and we're part of a very large circle in interlocking families.
Please post on May 14 for Hirschfeld and his legacy, which will surely educate a few people who didn't know who he was and what he fought for. His importance cannot be overstated.
Click here for his Wikipedia entry and go here for some Googling on him.
Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, happy 139th birthday!

No comments: