May 10th 1933, Nazis burned one of the largest collections of transgender research in the world. They destroyed around 25,000 books, journals, and images from the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft in Berlin, Germany.
The centre for sexual scientific research – which included many transgender staff – was the an international pioneer in advocating homosexual and transgender civil rights. It also advocated women’s rights, sex education, contraception, STI clinics.
The sexual research institute had around 20,000 visitors each year, and 1,800 clinic consultations, which were free for those who couldn’t afford to pay. It offered endocrinology and surgical services, including the first modern GRS operations in the 1930s.
Magnus Hirschfeld, the head of the institute and a gay Jewish man, also worked with Belin police in an attempt to stop the arrests of trans sex workers. It was Magnus who coined the term ‘transsexual’.
Many of the institutes aims are the same things we are fighting for today; accessible healthcare, mental health services, hormones, and surgeries.
We remember the histories of transgender resistance, and the ultimate price that so many paid for the freedoms we now enjoy. We take on the responsibility to use our freedoms to make things better: for ourselves, for each other, and for future generations to come.
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