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Unformatted text preview: G la$ muss das Uolh drittcn Ge$cl)lecl)t wisscn! Cine Bufhiarangsscljrift fyerausgegeben worn wlssensc&aftllcMumanlta'ren Com itee. lit Illustrattonen. von lax Sj)0l)r in Ceipzlg. I he first gay self-help organization: "iischaftlich-humanitares Komitee lounding of the world's first gay self-help ition took place on May 15,1897. The l/Ws- hdftlich-humanitares Komitee (Scientific iiuitiiiiiitarian Committee; WhK) not only provided mil ini others but also committed itself to the n .il '.Imggle for gay equality. Two leading in-, ,md organizers, the publisher Max Spohr the physician Magnus Hirschfeld, accomplished whiit Karl Heinrich Ulrichs had unsuccessfully ili'iiiiinded thirty years earlier. The WhK's central nilv.lon was the fight against 175 and within a fW years a political organization developed. Work immediately began in 1897 with a petition to the i ig demanding the abolition of 175. Promi- md usually heterosexual, politicians, authors, dilKts and scientists were persuaded to sign. On tin' iidvice of an official from the justice ministry, a ii|;n was launched with the aim of enlighten- ''Ji<ler public: '.everal thousand public lectures were held in all < i iik's, despite frequent bans by the police; Mi,in 50,000 copies of the pamphlet Was i/i/s Volk vom dritten Geschlecht wissen? (What Should the Public Know about the Third Sex?) were ilmlcd; Several thousand newspaper and magazine arti- Clll were initiated by the committee or written by i ill writers; 1100 individuals were asked to support the pi'llllon against 175. In 1901+ alone, 30,000 doc- ie .iddressed, of whom 2,000 signed; by ii'.iuiturc collection totaled 6,000. i IM iiiimiinitarian goals of the WhK meant that n.il 1 . were offered legal and medical i, well as representation in court. Particular . n.iii', were made to educate the police. In this ulespread tolerance of a gay subculture, of huts iind drag balls, was achieved. Even wearing i Hie opposite sex was made easier, and support was offered to victims of blackmail. The WliK Wiii organized like a club with members paying him',, though the majority gave their initials i in lull names. 13 Educational pamphlet of the Scientific Humanitarian Committee, Verlag von Max Spohr, Leipzig 1901 58| 59 nli ' ".c.irch was a further field of activity. lln i in .IK,il evidence indicating that a consider- ii'ir imiporiion of the population was homosexual was a key factor in winning rights for this minority. The annual Jahrbuch fur sexuelle Zwischenstufen published research findings along with historical and literary articles. Over the years subcommittees were founded in other German towns. The Whl< headquarters in Berlin initiated and supported educational work abroad. Branches were set up in the Netherlands, England and Austria, some of which developed into independent organizations....
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- Spring '11