Transvestit sucht gedankenaustausch : the creation and control of transvestite identities in Weimar queer media
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Between 1924 and 1932 room was made in the German gay and lesbian publication house Radszuweit Verlag for gender expansive topics not having to do with sexuality. Specifically, these new sections and periodicals addressed the experiences of transvestites, the first collective identity for gender deviants in modern western Europe. While transvestism had been commonly discussed by law enforcement and the medical establishment throughout the previous decades, these periodicals marked the first attempt at making a publication both by and for transvestites, in their own voices. The unique circumstances that gave rise to the short-lived Weimar transvestite media was the placement of transvestism in the center of the gender, class, and ideological power struggles of numerous intersecting queer communal factions. As a result, gender deviance was a location for culture-wide debates on respectability, gender identity, and strategies for queer liberation. This thesis analyses the transvestite media of Weimar Germany, as one of the rare instances of gender deviant voices recorded in history, to formulate a view of the fears, dreams, goals, and self-identity constructions of a pre-transgender community. Reflecting on the transvestite media's own internal and external biases and agendas, it then addresses how this media both does and does not reflect the lived experiences of Weimar Germany's gender deviants. Finally, the impact of these biases and of the violent homo- and heteronormative destruction of gender deviant ideas are considered, in order to create a full picture of the interplay of queer community and liberation, loss and oppression on gender deviants over generations.