Livia Gershon, ‘Gender Identity in Weimar Germany’, JStor Daily (Published 18/11/18) https://daily.jstor.org/gender-identity-in-weimar-germany/ [Accessed 2/1/19]
Summary: an accessible article written by Livia Gershon, using discussions around the legal rights of transgender people in the US as a prompt to look back to Katie Sutton’s research about Weimar Berlin, that she positions as “the first political movement around gender identity in the modern West”. This period is therefore a useful historical point to understand how discourses around transgender identities have developed and been shaped, regardless of whether or not we look specifically at this period. Useful points include:
- Policing of visual expression of gender identity: respectability politics.
- Differing experiences of men/women: investigate the erasure of ftm?
- Assimilation of gay masculinity into the Nazi regime
- Hirschfield’s Institute of Sexology.
Matthew Wills, Ernst Röhm, The Highest-Ranking Gay Nazi’, JSTOR Daily (Published 27/3/17) https://daily.jstor.org/ernst-rohm-the-highest-ranking-gay-nazi/ [Accessed 4/2/19]
Article briefly introducing Enst Röhm, head of the SA and highest ranking gay Nazi official. Although not immediately applicable to our areas of interest, one particular paragraph struck me in terms of the visual expression and coding of queer identity:
“As Eleanor Hancock explains, Röhm, his face scarred from war wounds, stressed a hyper-masculinity to counteract contemporary views of homosexuality as feminine. A First World War veteran, Röhm ‘attached paramount importance to the values of militarized masculinity.’ This aligned with Nazi views of the homosocial Männerbund. Such all-male organizationsof warrior-comrades were supposed to be united under the banner of discipline and order aginst the threatening ‘wave’ of the bourgeoisie, women, Jews, socialists, Bolsheviks, all of represented weakness, chaos, and disorder – in short, the Weimar republic.”
Channel 4 News, ‘Germaine Greer on women’s liberation, the trans community and her rape’, Ways To Change the World: A New Podcast Season 1 Episode 10 (Published 23/5/18) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aU_csXGfdVM [Accessed 4/2/19]
We decided to look at Germaine Greer as she is frequently pointed to as a feminist figure who holds trans-exclusionary opinions. The video covers a range of topics, but in terms of our project (interest in the visual, the body and postcolonial approaches to transgender studies), these were the most interesting quotes:
“We are not even allowed to refer to the fact that somebody is transgender. We’ve got to call these people women and we’ve got to behave as if we cannot see that they are not as we are even when it’s blindingly obvious.”
“That masquerade is what is being presented to us back as the real deal with the hair extensions, and the false eyelashes, and you think, why do you think that’s real when we all know that it isn’t.”
“intersex is relatively common, especially in certain ethnic groups”
“In China during the Great Leap Forward men and women were indistinguishable, they looked exactly the same. Now that’s made very easy become they’re the same height. Now in our race, our mixture of races, speaking of basically of Aryan, men are bigger than women, characteristically women are shorter so it’s hard for us to pretend to be men and it’s been one of the things that breaks my heart when I see female-to-male transsexuals that they have tiny hands and tiny feet, just as male-to-female transsexuals have enormous hands and enormous feet and I think here you are, you’ve taken male hormones, you’ve grown a little beard, your hair is cut and you’re wearing men’s clothes and here are these tiny hands and feet that are giving the game away.”