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social sciences

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Brand, Adolf (1874-1945)  
 
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Opposition to Hirschfeld

Brand himself was well represented in the journal--as poet and photographer, as polemicist and activist--and always impatient with the progress of his cause. If Hirschfeld, as head of the Scientific Humanitarian Committee (founded by him and others in Berlin in 1897) and as editor of the journal Jahrbuch für sexuelle Zwischenstufen (Yearbook of Sexual Intermediates, 1899-1923), was the acknowledged leader of the mainstream homosexual liberation movement in the early twentieth century, then Brand, with Der Eigene and supported by the Gemeinschaft der Eigenen, was the leader of a second movement for homosexual liberation. With him were gathered those whose inclination was homosexual--or at least --and who wished for a change in social attitudes, but were opposed for various reasons to the views of Hirschfeld.

One important figure in this movement, for example, was the wealthy private scholar Benedict Friedlaender (1866-1908), whose substantial Renaissance des Eros Uranios (Renaissance of the Uranian Eros, 1904), a scholarly treatise arguing that same-sex friendship is "a normal, fundamental drive of mankind," had a large impact on members of the Gemeinschaft der Eigenen.

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Friedlaender argued against Hirschfeld's designation of a homosexual category and his identification of homosexuality with femininity, believing most men to be essentially bisexual. Like most supporters of Der Eigene, Friedlaender yearned for a return to the Greek ideal, including the recognition of the educational and cultural advantages of intergenerational friendships, as well as the rejection of any leading role for women in society. Friedlaender supported Hirschfeld at first, but broke with him in 1906.

The Scotch-German writer John Henry Mackay may be taken as representative of the part boy-lovers played in this movement, although he was never a member of the Gemeinschaft der Eigenen. His first boy-love poems appeared in Der Eigene in 1905. Contrary to later allegations, none of this group supported sexual acts with preadolescent boys; Mackay himself was attracted to boys from 14 to 17 years of age. True to his anarchist principles, Mackay rejected the idea that freedom was only for men. He believed that all persons, male and female, should be judged as individuals.

Rejection of the Medical Model

Above all, the members of this movement rejected the medicalization of homosexuality, a process they saw as continued by Hirschfeld, himself a medical doctor, in his insistence that homosexuality was inborn and that homosexuals represented a biological minority to be distinguished from "normal" men.

As Harry Oosterhuis has observed, "Most authors of Der Eigene were of the opinion that their feelings and experiences could not be understood in scientific categories and that art and literature provided the better means of expression." The love of one man for another was for them, not a matter of biology, but of culture.

They rejected any idea that those who loved their friend (and "friend-love" was a term commonly used by them in opposition to "homosexual") were in any way unhealthy or degenerate. There was also an element in this group that saw male-male love as superior to male-female love, an attitude that reflected a strain of misogyny.

Nudism and Nationalism

Not surprisingly, many members of this group supported the newly emerging nudist movement, especially its glorification of health and strength. The many nude illustrations in Der Eigene often emphasize the health of the nude body rather than any explicit eroticism. This is true to a certain extent of the photographs of Brand, but may be seen especially in the drawings of Fidus and Sascha Schneider, which illustrate strength and determination.

The idealization of manly friendship and male bonding by many of the contributors to Der Eigene was in line with some tendencies of German nationalism. For example, they shared with Nazism an ideal of national renewal through the promotion of manliness. However, the commitment of many of them to anarchist principles distanced them from Nazism. Moreover, they were aware that the Nazis firmly rejected any open promotion of homoeroticism. As Oosterhuis bluntly points out, "The realization of male bonding and the glorification of male strength and beauty in National Socialism was accompanied by the persecution of homosexual men."

Hubert Kennedy

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    Bibliography
   

Grau, Günter, ed. Homosexualität in der NS-Zeit: Dokumente einer Diskriminierung und Verfolgung. Frankfurt am Main: Fischer Taschenbuch Verlag, 1993.

Hohmann, Joachim S., ed. Der Eigene--Ein Blatt für männliche Kultur: Ein Querschnitt durch die erste Homosexuellenzeitschrift der Welt. Frankfurt/Berlin: Foerster Verlag, 1981.

Keilson-Lauritz, Marita. Die Geschichte der eigenen Geschichte: Literatur und Literaturkritik in den Anfängen der Schwulenbewegung am Beispiel des Jahrbuchs für sexuelle Zwischenstufen und der Zeitschrift Der Eigene. Berlin: Verlag rosa Winkel, 1997.

Keilson-Lauritz, Marita, and Rolf F. Lang, eds. Emanzipation hinter der Weltstadt: Adolf Brand und die Gemeinschaft der Eigenen. Berlin-Friedrichshagen: Müggel-Verlag Rolf F. Lang, 2000.

Oosterhuis, Harry. "Adolf Brand und die Schwulenbewegung." Emanzipation hinter der Weltstadt: Adolf Brand und die Gemeinschaft der Eigenen. Marita Keilson-Lauritz and Rolf F. Lang, eds. Berlin-Friedrichshagen: Müggel-Verlag Rolf F. Lang, 2000. 69-84.

_____. "Brand, Adolf." Who's Who in Gay and Lesbian History: From Antiquity to World War II. Robert Aldrich and Garry Wotherspoon, eds. New York: Routledge, 2001. 68-69.

_____, ed. Homosexuality and Male Bonding in Pre-Nazi Germany: The Youth Movement, the Gay Movement, and Male Bonding before Hitler's Rise: Original Transcripts from Der Eigene, the First Gay Journal in the World. Hubert Kennedy, trans. New York: Haworth Press, 1991.

 

    Citation Information
         
    Author: Kennedy, Hubert  
    Entry Title: Brand, Adolf  
    General Editor: Claude J. Summers  
    Publication Name: glbtq: An Encyclopedia of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual,
Transgender, and Queer Culture
 
    Publication Date: 2005  
    Date Last Updated January 20, 2006  
    Web Address www.glbtq.com/social-sciences/brand_a.html  
    Publisher glbtq, Inc.
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    Encyclopedia Copyright: © 2002-2006, glbtq, Inc.  
    Entry Copyright © 2005, glbtq, inc.  
 

 

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