SF’s GLBT History Museum: “Through Knowledge to Justice”

A fascinating exhibit at the GLBT Museum in San Francisco traces the history of Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, a “groundbreaking defender of homosexual and transgender people in Germany and beyond”. The exhibit chronicles the 85th anniversary of Dr. Magnus Hirsch­feld’s visit to San Francisco in 1931. Hirschfeld was internationally renowned as a founder of the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee, the world’s first homosexual advocacy group, and as creator of the Institute for Sexual Science in Berlin. Both organizations were banned when the Nazis came to power in 1933.

“Although the Nazi regime did its best to erase the memory of Hirschfeld and his contributions, it didn’t succeed,” says curator Gerard Koskovich. We remember Hirschfeld today not only because he helped found the movement to defend LGBTQ people more than a century ago, but also because his work as a sexologist was prescient. With its emphasis on ‘sexual intermediacy,’ Hirschfeld’s thinking prefigures contemporary ideas about the continuum of sexual orientation, genderqueer expression and sexual fluidity.”

“Our exhibition offers an introduction to Hirschfeld’s life, work and legacy, featuring first editions, vintage periodicals and ephemera which includes historic film documenting Hirschfeld’s impact and the fate of his work,” says the museum, located in San Francisco’s “Gayborhood” in the Castro District.

Curator Gerard Koskovich

Among the scarce artifacts on display are the 1904 booklet distributed by the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee to advocate repeal of Germany’s sodomy law; one of the handful of volumes known to have survived the first book-burning of the Nazi regime, where the library of Hirschfeld’s Institute for Sexual Science was reduced to flames; and a review copy of the last of Hirschfeld’s books published during his lifetime, inscribed by the author three weeks before his death in exile in Nice, France.

Nazis plunder Hirschfeld’s institute in 1933.
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Anka Radakovich is a legendary Sex Columnist, Certified Sexologist, Sex Educator, Screenwriter, and Author of the book THE WILD GIRLS CLUB, PART 2, Tales from New York to Hollywood. THE WILD GIRLS CLUB, Part 2 is her third book. Her first two books, The Wild Girls Club; Tales from below the Belt, and Sexplorations; Journeys to the Erogenous Frontier were both published by Crown/Random House. She was the Sex Columnist for DETAILS Magazine for 9 years and currently writes columns for Brides.com and Los Angeles Magazine. Her writing has appeared in dozens of magazines including Marie Claire, Women’s Health, Men’s Health, Harper’s Bazaar, Cosmopolitan, Redbook, Men's Journal, Seventeen, Glamour, and Maxim. She has appeared on numerous television shows including 8 appearances with Conan O’Brien. She was a Jeopardy question under the category “Men’s Mags.” As a Sex Educator and Sexologist, she is a college lecturer at Universities throughout the country who offers her unique brand of sex education. Follow her on Twitter @ankarad.


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