„Unsere Stellung zu diesem Problem der Abtreibung ist ganz klar”

Parlamentarierinnen der SPD und KPD zur Abtreibungsdebatte 1926

Anna-Josepha Kriesche studiert Gymnasiallehramt Geschichte und Französisch an der Friedrich-Schiller Universität Jena. Diesen Text schrieb sie im Rahmen des Seminars „Sexualitäten der Revolution – Revolutionen der Sexualität“ (im WiSe 20/21 bei Pia Marzell) als Hausarbeit und überarbeitete ihn für den Blog. In ihrer anstehenden Abschlussarbeit wird sie sich weiterhin mit der Thematik, dann in Zeitschriften der SPD, auseinandersetzen.

„Eine Schwangere, welche ihre Frucht vorsätzlich abtreibt oder im Mutterleib tötedt, wird mit Zuchthaus bis zu fünf Jahren bestraft. Sind mildernde Umstände vorhanden, so tritt Gefängnißstrafe nicht unter sechs Monaten ein. Dieselben Strafvorschriften finden auf denjenigen Anwendung, welcher mit Einwilligung der Schwangeren die Mittel zu der Abtreibung oder Tödtung bei ihr angewandt oder ihr beigebracht hat.“[1]

Seit der §218 erstmals im StGB von 1871 auftauchte, wurden Debatten um dessen Änderung geführt. Als ein Höhepunkt dieser Diskussionen kann sicherlich die breite außerparlamentarische Protestbewegung politisch engagierter Frauen, Künstler*innen und Ärzt*innen in der Weimarer Republik bezeichnet werden, die sich Ende der 1920er herausbildete. Diese öffentliche Protestbewegung formierte sich aus dem Bund für Mutterschutz und Sexualreform, der feministischen Frauenliga sowie dem Bund deutscher Ärztinnen. Im Reichstag waren es Parlamentarierinnen aus SPD und KPD wie Marie Juchacz, Lore Agnes oder Martha Arendsee, die sich seit 1920 mit Anträgen für eine Strafrechtsänderung einsetzten, und entsprechend die Positionen ihrer Parteien in der Abtreibungsdebatte und in den Verhandlungen im Mai 1926 vertraten.

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“Zwey Knaben in einem Bette”. Spuren der Antimasturbationskampagne im habsburgischen Bildungswesen um 1815

Waltraud Schütz ist Post-Doc am Institut für die Erforschung der Habsburgermonarchie und des Balkanraumes an der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften. Aktuell, Forschung in Briefbeständen zur Rolle adeliger Frauen in der Entstehung von Freizeitkultur im 19. Jahrhundert. Arbeitsschwerpunkte: Gender History, Geschichte der Bildung, Biographieforschung, Analyse von Dynamiken sozialer Ungleichheit

Experten aus Medizin und Pädagogik sowie Vertreter des Klerus produzierten ab dem 17. Jahrhundert, zuerst in England, umfangreiche Literaturen zum sogenannten „Laster der Selbstbefleckung“.[1] Detaillierte Schilderungen von damit verbundenen Krankheitssymptomen und deren körperliche und geistige Folgen, stützten sich auf Konsultations- und Brieftexte von vermeintlichen Onanist:innen im medizinischen Kontext. In diesen, oft im Stil von Beichten, verfassten Berichten  wurden die Konsequenzen drastisch beschrieben, so galt eine gelbliche Verfärbung der Haut als sichtbares Zeichen.[2] Der Onanie vorzubeugen  wurde zum zentralen Anliegen der Anti-Masturbations-Kampagnen, die im deutschsprachigen Raum ihren Höhepunkt in den 1780er und 1790er Jahren erreichten. Ende des 18. Jahrhunderts waren vor allem Pädagogen Wortführer der Debatte. In ihren Werken können die Auswirkungen dieses Diskurses auf Lehrwerke und gesetzliche Bestimmungen nachvollzogen werden.[3] Bemerkenswert ist, dass die Kampagnen überhaupt erst ein breiteres Bewusstsein für sexuelles Verhalten im Kindes- und Erwachsenenalter schufen. Die Historikerin Isabel Hull bringt diese diskursive Veränderung auf den Punkt: “some people suddenly discovered they had been having sex all their lives (and that it was dangerous).”[4]

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Trans Rights and Cultures in the Weimar Republic

Katie Sutton is Associate Professor of German and Gender Studies at the Australian National University. She is the author of Sex between Body and Mind: Psychoanalysis and Sexology in the German-Speaking World, 1890s-1930s (University of Michigan Press, 2019) and The Masculine Woman in Weimar Germany (Berghahn, 2011), and has published on sexuality, gender, and sexology in early 20th-century Germany, including interwar queer and trans subcultures. Contact: katie.sutton@anu.edu.au

In 1932 popular illustrated daily newspaper Tempo, which had a circulation of around 125,000 copies, took up a theme it believed captured the Zeitgeist: “Women who live as men”.[1] This “reportage from an unknown world” by one C. A. Jank ran for almost thirty issues from April to June, detailing stories of individuals assigned female at birth (AFAB) who lived and worked, sometimes for decades, in a society that viewed them as men. 

It opens with the story of Karl, a working-class Swabian who runs into problems at the Berlin unemployment office because his ID document is issued to a “Henriette.” In a colourful report that speaks to Depression-era readers with its evocation of bored queues and timestamps, Karl confronts a perplexed official demanding to know the truth of his gender: “The thing is this: I’m a girl. But for fifteen years I’ve been living and working as a lad.”[2] What might stories such as Karl’s tell us about the development of trans legal rights and cultures during the Weimar Republic?

Jank’s report of Karl’s encounter in the unemployment office forms part of longer biography that goes back to the persistent childhood demands of young “Henriette”: “Mother, when will I become a boy?” Today, we might be tempted to classify his identification as trans(*), although it is not clear whether Karl saw himself in a way that might easily align with such a twenty-first-century label.[3]

By the interwar years, though, adopting the term “transvestite” to characterize gender-variant expressions and identities had become a possibility. Sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld coined this popular label with a bulky 1910 study on the theme, publishing numerous case histories to help distinguish “transvestism” from older ideas of “inversion” or a “third sex.”[4] He viewed cross-gendered identifications as most often a lifelong condition—a view we also see reflected in Jank’s narration of Karl, albeit in a more popular mode. 

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Coming Out Collectively: Stern, 1978

Craig Griffiths is a Senior Lecturer in Modern History at Manchester Metropolitan University. He is a co-founder and co-convenor of the Seminar Series in the History of Sexuality at the Institute of Historical Research, London. His book, The Ambivalence of Gay Liberation: Male Homosexual Politics in 1970s West Germany, was published with Oxford University Press in February 2021. During June 2021, chapter one can be downloaded open-access; copies can be bought at 30% off using code AAFLYG6.

‘We are gay’. With these words, 682 men revealed their homosexuality to the estimated 18 million readers of Stern in October 1978, in the gay movement’s most visible public action of the decade. That there was not a single lesbian among them is symptomatic of the largely separate paths taken by gay male and lesbian activism in the 1970s, although the Stern front cover special does also reveal the threads of inspiration that connected various social movements. This queer intervention in the West German public sphere would scarcely have been imaginable without the foundations paved by feminists in 1971, when 374 women declared on the front cover of the same magazine that they had had an abortion. 

The media

By 1978, the gay movement had reached a certain traction in the mainstream media, the result not least of years of tenacious activism, following the liberalisation of Paragraph 175 in 1969. Indeed, that long-awaited reform to the law penalising male homosexuality had been met with another front cover special, this time in Der Spiegel. Until 1969, the Federal Republic had enforced the 1935 Nazi version of Paragraph 175, leading to more than 25,000 convictions in the 1960s alone.[1]

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Interactions between the regulation of homosexuality and transsexuality since the enactment of the Transsexual Act

Adrian de Silva is a trans and queer studies researcher at the University of Luxembourg with a background in sociology and political science. He received a PhD in gender studies from Humboldt University Berlin based on his interdisciplinary study “Negotiating the Borders of the Gender Regime: Developments and Debates on Trans(sexuality) in the Federal Republic of Germany”. Working across political sociology, sociology of law, sexology and political theory, Adrian’s research engages with processes of minoritizing less common genders and sexualities in liberal democracies, and struggles for social change in these areas. 

On 01 Jan. 1981, the Act to change first names and establish gender status in special cases (Transsexual Act – TSG) came into force in the Federal Republic of Germany.[i] Sections 1-7 TSG lay down the rules for a change of first names and sections 8-12 TSG regulate a revision of gender status in cases of transsexuality. The Transsexual Act was, among other things,[ii] devised against the background of historically-specific manifestations of heteronormativity, which at the time included the delegitimization of homosexual relationships and, according to s. 175 StGB (Strafgesetzbuch; Criminal Code), demanded higher ages of consent for sexual activities between male individuals than between males and females, or between female persons. While gender and sexuality do not necessarily have to be linked to each other, they are, as Butler suggests, interrelated[iii] in contemporary Western societies. However, gender and sexuality are not static. The same applies to the relationship between these fields. The temporary outcome of struggles in one arena may directly or indirectly contribute to, or impede developments in the other. Drawing upon Federal Constitutional Court rulings on relevant provisions of the Transsexual Act and legislation on same-sex partnerships, this blog entry traces how the regulation of homosexuality and transsexuality impacted upon each other since the Transsexual Act was enacted.[iv]

Preventing same-sex marriages and violations of s. 175 StGB in the Transsexual Act

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Marital Rape and Women’s Rights in the Federal Republic of Germany

Jane Freeland is an historian of women and gender in modern Germany. She is currently a research fellow at the German Historical Institute London, where she coordinates the International Standing Working Group on Medialization and Empowerment. She holds a PhD from Carleton University (Canada) and is completing a monograph on domestic violence activism in divided Berlin.

On April 14, 1976, the illustrated news magazine Stern ran a special report on rape in marriage in the Federal Republic of Germany. “Rape,” it began, “It was until today a matter of sexual offenders, perverts, criminals. …for the first time it is now revealed that nowhere is rape committed more than in the marital bed.”[1] Surveying women throughout the Federal Republic on sex and intimacy in marriage, including their experiences of marital rape, for the first time the report revealed that in one in five marriages in West Germany women were raped by their husbands. It further showed that in a majority of cases marital rape was violent, and closely connected with physical and emotional abuse. “The bed,” it seemed to reporter Ulrich Schippke “has become a battleground.”[2]

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A Brief History of Seduction

Chloë Kennedy is Senior Lecturer in Criminal Law at the University of Edinburgh. Her main research interests are criminal law, legal theory, legal history and the relationships between these areas. Her work also focuses on law and gender. Chloë is currently writing a genealogy of legal responses to inducing intimacy. This research is funded by an Arts and Humanities Research Council Research Leader Fellowship grant (AH/S013180/1). 

Seduction is a slippery concept. Once associated with disloyalty and disobedience, seduction is now more commonly associated with the ‘art’ of persuading another person to have sex. Yet even in this context, seduction can refer to anything from gentle persuasion to substantial manipulation. Partly because of this, attitudes towards seduction are often ambivalent. Practices at one end of the seduction spectrum are considered innocuous, or even valuable, while practices at the other end are considered impermissible and condemned as such. Adding a final layer of complexity, it is not always clear where a particular practice belongs on this spectrum and answers to this question vary across time and place.

In this post, I explore the Scottish delict (i.e. civil wrong) of seduction and look at how, for two centuries,[1] it was used to proscribe certain ways of persuading another person to have sex. Though there is much to say about seduction, in this post I focus solely on the conduct that was prohibited. Based on an examination of ~450 seduction cases, I want to suggest that the action of seduction is best understood as a wrong that involved being untrustworthy[2] in socially and culturally significant ways, which revolved around contemporary understandings of marriage and the abuse of power.  

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