Intersections: Gender, History and Culture in the Asian Context
Issue 14, November 2006

Magnus Hirschfeld:
Panhumanism and the Sexual Cultures of Asia[1]

J. Edgar Bauer

'"Mein Feld ist die Welt"—nicht Deutschland, nicht Europa allein.'

–Magnus Hirschfeld[2]

  1. The German-Jewish physician Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935) was the first to outline a non-Eurocentric, anti-colonialist critique of culture from a sexological perspective in his book Weltreise eines Sexualforschers [The world journey of a sex researcher—hereafter Weltreise].[3] Generally considered one of the grounding texts of sexual ethnology, Weltreise is the report of a trip the sexologist made between 1930 and 1932. Since Hirschfeld began his journey shortly after completing the publication of his five-volume opus magnum, Geschlechtskunde auf Grund dreißigjähriger Forschung und Erfahrung bearbeitet[4] [Sexual science treated on the basis of thirty years of research and experience], the travel report should be read and interpreted bearing in mind the overall design of Hirschfeld's sexology and its ethical and political implications. Inasmuch as Hirschfeld's sexuelle Zwischenstufenlehre (i.e. the doctrine of sexual intermediary stages) constitutes the epistemic foundation of his endeavours, it will play an essential role in the following elaborations on Weltreise. The interpretation of this doctrine as an open-ended scheme of sexual distribution superseding all closed systems of categorial subsumption was propounded for the first time by the present author in his 1998 essay 'Der Tod Adams. Geschichtsphilosophische Thesen zur Sexualemanzipation im Werk Magnus Hirschfelds' ['The death of Adam: Historical-philosophical theses concerning sexual emancipation in the work of Magnus Hirschfeld'].[5]

    The intersections of history and science in the life of Magnus Hirschfeld
  2. On November 15, 1930 Magnus Hirschfeld set out for the United States, where he had planned a lecturing tour. Acknowledged at the time as one of the most eminent theorists in the history of sexology, he was saluted upon his arrival as 'Dr. Einstein of Sex.'[6] During his stay in America, Hirschfeld decided to extend his travel. He left San Francisco for the Far East in March 1931, and eventually visited Japan, China, Indonesia, India, the Philippines, Egypt and Palestine. Echoing the enthusiastic reception of Hirschfeld in America, Indian scholars addressed him as 'the modern Vatsayana of the West,'[7] in reference to the author of the classic Kamasutra.[8] Back in Europe in April 1932, Hirschfeld became increasingly aware of the menace that the rise of Nazism meant for his life and work, and decided not to return to Germany. As the most visible and articulate advocate of sexual minority rights of his time, Hirschfeld had been, since 1920, a target of defamation and physical aggression orchestrated by the German fascists. Soon after Hitler came to power in 1933, the Institute for Sexual Science Hirschfeld had founded in 1919 was closed, and its extensive library as well as its sexual-ethnological collections were destroyed. A year later, in 1934, the Nazi regime deprived the Jewish sexologist of his German citizenship. After moving to Ascona in Switzerland and then briefly to Paris, Hirschfeld finally settled in the city of Nice, in the south of France. There he died on his sixty-seventh birthday, May 14, 1935.[9]
  3. In the year following his return to Europe, Hirschfeld published his detailed journey report in Switzerland. A 'supporter, on principle, of the independence movements of all nations,'[10] Hirschfeld made throughout the book his 'libertarian attitude'[11] abundantly clear, contending that the drive to freedom is a law of nature[12] inherent in all human beings and nations, and that 'once awakened, [it] can be checked only temporarily.'[13] Taking account of the entanglements of power in Asia, Hirschfeld castigated not only the repressive politics of the colonial regimes of the time, but also the curtailment of personal freedom resulting from the millenarian traditions of the colonised nations themselves. Hence, his critique of European imperialistic policies did not prevent him from scorning the idealisation of cultural differences commonly associated with Asia's exoticism. Although Hirschfeld hinted at the cultural relativity of his views on issues such as necrophilia among the Tamils in the Malabar coast[14] or the esthetic appreciation of cross-eyes in Egypt,[15] he was not prepared to relativise his stance when condemning murderous or life-threatening practices such as widow burning, the exposure of female babies or the circumcision of women. While admitting that Hinduism and Buddhism are more tolerant religions than Christianity with regard to non-normative sexualities, Hirschfeld never concealed his dismay in view of the roles women have been forced to assume in the social fabric of Far Eastern cultures.
  4. Hirschfeld's travel account was meant from the outset as a contribution to sexual ethnology, a science that is 'the oldest with regard to its contents, the youngest with regard to its method'[16] among the sexological disciplines. On the assumption that 'the biological and pathological foundations in the field of sexuality' are the same for all humanity, sexual ethnology, in Hirschfeld's understanding, deals with the extreme diversity of 'sociological consequences, solutions and assessments'[17] that follow from the complexities of the common sexual nature. Hirschfeld's premise that, despite all cultural variability, the sexual dispositions and drives—'taken as a whole'[18]—remain identical among all nations and races, however, did not lead him to accept the binary pattern of traditional sexual distribution. On the contrary, Hirschfeld's sexology purports that a boundless profusion of naturally given sexual constitutions has existed in all times and places. However, instead of taking account of the challenge posed by radical sexual diversity to social organisation and functionality, historical cultures to the present have propagated 'symbolic and idealistic explanations' of sexuality that Hirschfeld disqualifies as being merely 'a posteriori constructions.'[19] Having reduced the natural diversity of sexuality to a few privileged patterns of sexual behaviour, 'every nation (and every religion) is convinced that its own [sexual] mores constitute morality in the objective sense' and is inclined 'to dismiss all other mores as more or less immoral.'[20]
  5. Hirschfeld's interest in the role religion plays in the sexual cultures of Asia is hardly surprising if one recalls that, since childhood, the Jewish sexologist had to deal with the religious and racial bias of his Christian surroundings. His frank identification with the ideals of German Enlightenment and Bildung notwithstanding, Hirschfeld—unlike many Jews of his generation—remained to the end an opponent of baptism as a means of social integration. Far from seeking assimilation with the Christian majority, Hirschfeld openly admitted that his own advocacy of sexual minority rights was largely a struggle against the age-old sexual ideology of Christianity. Mindful of his own biography, Hirschfeld stressed that Jews and homosexuals were 'the world's scapegoats, who, since the introduction of Christianity, have been held responsible for all the suffering and misery in this world.'[21] His unambiguous rejection of Christianity, however, never led Hirschfeld to accept Jewish religious orthodoxy or political Zionism as possible solutions of the heatedly debated question of Jewish identity. Instead, he opted for a secular understanding of Judaism focused on the realisation of universal humanness as the true and final aim of history.[22] Given his general reticence about discussing his views on Judaism, it is all the more significant that in a passage of Weltreise dealing with the Jews as a cosmopolitan people Hirschfeld refers to 'the destiny of this "restlessly and hastily" roaming nation that finds nowhere a true home, but nonetheless achieves everywhere a great human mission.'[23]
  6. At the time Hirschfeld embarked for America, he had no inkling that his trip would mark the beginning of his personal exile. Becoming only gradually aware of the threats the pre-1933 developments in Germany meant to his life and work, Hirschfeld began to reflect on the quintessential nexus between nomadic existence and freedom at the beginning of Jewish history. Recalling 'that the currently sedentary nations, before finding home and stable, wandered around without any restrictions,'[24] Hirschfeld first ponders over the question of 'whether it is not this atavistic ur-ground, as a consequence of which the drive toward freedom—combined with a certain unrest—is so deeply rooted in all human beings, [whether it is not] this longing for distant places that is so difficult to check in the long run?'[25] Against this backdrop, Hirschfeld then focuses on the origins of the Jews as going back to the 'nomadic tribes, which thousand of years ago roamed between the river-basins of the Nile, the Euphrates and the Jordan.'[26] More importantly, Hirschfeld suggests a link between these tribal wanderings and the inherited Jewish character by asking, 'whether the Ahasveric restlessness of the Jews is … an heirloom from their immemorial nomadic past.'[27] As Weltreise distinctly conveys, Hirschfeld attained in this decisive period of his life a deeper understanding of the Jew as the 'eternal Wanderer,' whose ancestral history of nomadic freedom belies the inveterate Christian misconception of the eternally doomed 'Jewish Ahasver.'
  7. Hirschfeld's apercus on the Jewish drive to freedom concur with the ethical leitmotif that marked his work from early on. In accordance with his life motto per scientiam ad justitiam (i.e. through science to justice), Hirschfeld reaffirms in Weltreise his conviction that the unbiased ascertainment of the biological facts of human sexuality necessitates a libertarian vision of culture capable of coping with endless sexual diversity. On this assumption, sexual ethnology is designed to show that 'humanity has not as yet succeeded in finding a uniform solution to the question of sexual and erotic mores, which corresponds in like manner to the results of sexual-biological and sexual-sociological research.'[28] By exposing the intellectual parochialism of current sexual mores and the oppressive ideological tools they produce to sanction their prejudices, sexual ethnology, in Hirschfeld's understanding, purports the need of a universal sexual morality in agreement with the findings of sexological research. Since 'only the objective scientific knowledge of the human and sexuality can open up and prepare the way towards the full realisation of the sexual human rights,'[29] Hirschfeld's ground-breaking doctrine of sexual intermediaries is intended to articulate a new conceptualisation of sexual difference as the corner stone of any future sexual ethics.

    Debunking the closures of sexuality and race
  8. In view of the unsettling consequences Hirschfeld's doctrine entails, it is not surprising that post-World War II German scholarship has consistently avoided dealing with the deeper aspects of Hirschfeld's sexological thought, and thereby contributed to the on-going misrepresentation and underrating of his work as a whole.[30] Although he not only anticipated present-day discussions on issues such as individuality and categorisations, nature and nurture, and essentialism and construction, but also offered a radical alternative to the pervading schemes of sexual distribution, Hirschfeld is almost totally absent from all substantial debates in GLBTQ studies.[31] In fact, most sexologists and other scholars of sex are barely aware that Geschlechtskunde [Sexual science], the monumental compendium of Hirschfeld's life work, reiterates and explicates the challenge his doctrine of sexual intermediaries poses to the immemorial ideology of binary sexuality.[32] This doctrine, whose first formulations can be found in an early treatise published in 1896,[33] dismantles the assumption of the male/female divide sanctioned by the creation narratives of Abrahamic religion and purporting that the paradigmatic Adam is a man because he does not possess the sexual attributes of his human Other: Adam is not Eve, a man is not a woman. Opposing the traditional understanding of sexual difference, Hirschfeld contends that a human being is neither man nor woman, but at the same time man and woman in unique and therefore unrepeatable proportions. As a paradigm shift of the foundations of sexuality, Hirschfeld's doctrine implies the re-inscription of sexual difference in an open-ended framework of natural continuity[34] and adumbrates therewith the post-modern contestation of closed schemes of sexual subsumption in the name of the unique sexual constitution of each individual.[35]
  9. Considering Hirschfeld's basic premises, it becomes apparent that he did not intend to establish—as his critics often suggest—a theory of homosexuality as a 'third sex' intermediate between the heterosexual male and the heterosexual female.[36] Although the relative popularity of the term 'third sex' in the twentieth century was mainly due to Hirschfeld, he repeatedly stressed that he never used the concept in his scientific publications, but only in the context of his political and educational writings.[37] Since for Hirschfeld the third sexual alternative constitutes only a 'fiction' added to the already fictitious categories of male and female,[38] its merely tactical-rhetorical postulation does not entail a revocation of his fundamental insight that 'all human beings are intersexual variants.'[39] Denying that the 'third sex' category could be 'something complete or even almost closed in itself,'[40] Hirschfeld regards it just as an indispensable 'makeshift'[41] designed to overcome the 'extremely superficial scheme of classification into man or woman.'[42] Consequently, the members of the so-called third sex, as well as those who deem themselves in conformity with a pretended sexual majority evince themselves, according to Hirschfeld, as being only individual instantiations of sexual intermediariness brought about by ever-varying nature.
  10. The actual scope of Hirschfeld's paradigm shift can be better understood in connection with the motto he chose at the beginning of the treatise he published in 1905 under the title Geschlechts-Übergänge[43] [Sexual transitions]. The quote in question is a brief sentence by the philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz that runs: Tout va par degrés dans la nature et rien par sauts[44] [Everything happens by degrees in nature and nothing by leaps.] Applying this general principle to sexuality, Hirschfeld concludes that the members of all distinct sexual groups constitute lastly only transitions within the pervasive continuity of nature. Contrary to the either/or scheme of traditional assignation to one of two sexes, the idea of sexual gradation allows in principle for infinite variations of sexual constitutions depending on the way the poles of the masculine and the feminine combine at each of the different layers of sexual description. In Hirschfeld's time, such layers were assumed to range from the sexual organs and the secondary sexual characteristics, to the sexual drive and the way in which psychological traits are articulated in culture.[45] Since in Hirschfeld's scheme sexual difference is not determined in relation to one single excluded alternative (male or female), but in relation to an open ended system of as yet only partially realised combinations of the masculine and the feminine at the different descriptive layers, the sexuality of each and every individual is characterised by a unique complexity. Even though Hirschfeld was careful not to offend the sensibilities of the alleged sexual majority and preferred to downplay the import of his deconstructive approach, he did contend in unambiguous terms that sexual difference is not determined once and for all within a binary pattern, but is defined within the framework of potentially infinite sexual varieties, all differing from one another and undergoing change throughout the individual's life. Thus, in the last resort, Hirschfeld's doctrine purports that the number of sexualities is co-extensive with the number of sexed individuals.[46]
  11. The critical commitments that underlie Hirschfeld's emancipatory stance were not limited to his challenge of the distributional scheme of binomial sexuality. Toward the end of his life and prompted by the rise of Nazism, Hirschfeld sketched out a conceptualisation of race based on biological assumptions comparable to those of the doctrine of sexual intermediaries and leading to similar deconstructive results.[47] His most comprehensive elaborations on race are included in Phantom Rasse [The race phantom], a series of articles that began to be published a year after the publication of Weltreise in a German-language newspaper in Prague, but was never completed due to Hirschfeld's unexpected death. In analogy to his contentions in the field of sexuality, Hirschfeld maintained that there are no clear-cut, fixed differences between races, but only gradual racial variations between individuals. Thus, the sexological premise that all human beings are sexual intermediaries, is paralleled by the assertion that, 'strictly speaking, from the point of view of biology, all human beings are hybrids.'[48] Like in the case of his sexual doctrine, Hirschfeld's elaborations on race are guided by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck's philosophical contention that, with regard to the infinite fullness of inherited characteristics and forms, 'all classifications of living beings are ultimately only "artificial instrumentalities": Nature itself … acknowledges neither classes nor species.'[49] Dissolving the categorial closures superimposed on it by human beings, Nature's fullness fosters—in Hirschfeld's depiction—a sense of humanness irreconcilable with the reductive schemes of sexual and racial classification utilised in the (self-)identificatory processes of individuals throughout history. Thus, in view of the fascist and fascistoid self-misapprehension of culture as a product of racial 'purity,' Hirschfeld underscores: 'culture is the result of racial mixings, and only this mixing saves from barbarity.'[50] In making this assertion, Hirschfeld was certainly drawing on his personal experience as a Jewish non-Aryan traveling through Asia and confronting the greatest cultural diversity ever brought about by the racial spectrum of humankind.
  12. As Weltreise clearly conveys, Hirschfeld's critical view of Europe's colonialist politics and its attendant Christian-inspired ideology was underpinned by his Jewish sense of belonging to an exiled and homeless people whose traces never failed to captivate his attention. Thus, he mentions, for instance, his meeting in Shanghai with Arthur Sopher, the author of a monograph titled Chinese Jews,[51] dealing not with the descendants of the Jewish emigrants from Baghdad, but with a group of Jews who presumably immigrated to China 'after the destruction of the First Temple by Nebukadnezar.'[52] Hirschfeld also refers to his conversations in Calcutta with Baghdad-Jews, and in Bombay with a coloured Jewess who came originally from South India.[53] More importantly, Hirschfeld's travel report closes with detailed depictions of Jewish life in Palestine and the challenges posed by Zionism to Diaspora Judaism. Since Hirschfeld stressed that, despite the burdens of Exile, the foremost mission of Jews consists in building bridges that would help overcome 'the present contentions between human beings, nations, and countries,'[54] his stance contrasts not only with official Zionist ideology. It also differs on principle from good-will ideologies of universal harmony, for the reconciliation it aims at can only be attained by debunking the assumptions that sustain enmities and dissensions. From this perspective, overcoming the strife between sexes and races entails the critical dissolution of their categorial fixations in the name of the sexual and racial uniqueness of individuals. Thus, when Hirschfeld postulated the sexual intermediariness and racial hybridity of all human beings, he was not just hoping for a more tolerant or compassionate treatment of the underprivileged, but re-structuring the most fundamental premises of those co-implied in the so-called dialectic of masters and slaves.

    Exposing the shortcomings of Asian sexual cultures
  13. Concurrent with his search after the 'sexual leitmotiv of life' in Asia,[55] Hirschfeld presented and discussed his sexological insights wherever he could during his trip. The energy and time he invested in his lecturing activity were by all accounts astounding, especially in consideration of the tropical weather and his own ailments, including malaria.[56] Hirschfeld held conferences and lectures at universities, hospitals, ministries, women's clubs and Christian associations, on radio stations and even on board the ships on which he traveled.[57] In China he addressed 35 audiences in 63 days,[58] and on his way from Singapore to Ceylon he delivered his hundredth lecture.[59] Hirschfeld's claim that his own sexological teachings resumed and prolonged classical Asian traditions was certainly instrumental in eliciting from his audiences an overwhelming response to the educational and emancipatory ideals he advocated. Thus, after reminding his audience in Patna, India, during an English-held address that 'sex and love are as old as mankind, but [that] sexology is the youngest of all sciences,'[60] Hirschfeld proceeded to pay tribute to such outstanding Indian forerunners of sexual science as Barburavya, King of Penchal, Gonikaputra, Dattaka and Vatsayana. At the same time, Hirschfeld reminded his listeners, 'a short time after this classical period…, a long period came of nearly 2000 years, in which only theologists [sic], moralists, and occultists, but not biologists, psychologists, and sociologists were … engaged in sexual questions.'[61] As the historical deployment of Christianity shows, however, the triumph of asceticism Hirschfeld laments was not restricted to India. Reflecting on the ongoing sexual oppression resulting from both ascetical configurations, Hirschfeld scorns the worldwide unwillingness to revise pervading assumptions on sexual matters despite the general awareness of their ill-grounded nature. Based on his experience as educator and researcher, Hirschfeld pointedly observes: 'Nowhere does one find so much "fear of one's own courage" as where people arrive at the inner conviction that the dominant approach of sexuality requires objective re-examination.'[62]
  14. Having coped for decades with the Christian prejudice against sexual minorities, Hirschfeld was well prepared to present his sexological contentions in cultural settings dominated by the mighty ideologies of Far-Eastern religions. His general assessment of the situation in Asia is pointedly reflected in a passage of Weltreise stating, 'the axioms about sex life are everywhere the most tenaciously adhered to, no matter how absurd they may be.'[63] Against this backdrop, Hirschfeld commends the religiously neutral realism that pervades the sexual cultures of China as a worldwide exception: 'Modern youth in China is in many regards less hampered by traditions than the youth of other countries. In the first place, they have no religious scruples. In Europe it is little known that at least four hundred million Chinese neither have nor miss a religion...They are thus prepared for the reality of the here and now, and not for an illusory otherworldliness.'[64] Since they revere the moral prescriptions of Confucius and other sapiential teachers, 'but do not pray to them,'[65] the Chinese are not inclined, in Hirschfeld's perception, to 'false shame or cynicism'[66] in sexual matters, and their eroticism is untainted by 'sexual hypocrisy.'[67] Organised religions being for Hirschfeld a main source of sexual falsehood, he felt more sympathy for the Chinese attitudes to sexuality than for those prevalent in the oppressive religious atmospheres of India, Japan or the Christian West.[68] In view of Hirschfeld's cultural predilections, it is not surprising that, while staying in Shanghai, he met Tao Li, a young student who was to become his '"companion" and "protector"'[69] during the rest of his trip. By far the most often-mentioned person in Weltreise,[70] Tao Li was one of Hirschfeld's preferred disciples and remained at his side until his death in France.[71]
  15. Among the many issues Hirschfeld deals with in his travel report, none seems to have engrossed his attention the way that prostitution did. In Japan he visited for study purposes the famous 'gay-quarters'—i.e. the brothel districts—of Tokido in Osaka, and Yoshiwara and Shimbuko in Tokyo.[72] While in Nanking, Hirschfeld held discussions with government officials on topics related to health and prostitution,[73] and later made detailed inquiries into the working conditions of prostitutes in several Chinese cities, as well as in Singapore and Port Said, Egypt.[74] Backed by his field studies, Hirschfeld states that 'in no other country is prostitution so thoroughly organized as in Japan'[75] and contrasts its quartering and registering system with the privately organised brothel system dominant in China.[76] On several occasions, Hirschfeld deplores that the Western presence encouraged the exploitation of prostitutes throughout Asia. In Japan, Hirschfeld noticed the emergence of a group of 'bar and coffee-house girls,'[77] who were neither geishas nor prostitutes, but nonetheless offered their services to Westernised Japanese patrons. Addressing the issue of Chinese brothels, he remarked, 'there are few places where the embellished cultural hypocrisy of the European colonizers unmasks itself so undisguisedly as in Macao.'[78] His principled critique of sexual colonialism, however, did not hinder Hirschfeld from denouncing the autochthonous exploitation of women, or even young girls, for instance, in the context of South Indian temple prostitution.[79] Irrespective of his severe condemnation of 'white slavery'[80] in all its forms, Hirschfeld underscored that moral preaching or the closing of brothels are not satisfactory solutions to the problem. Well aware that prostitution can only be eradicated 'by means of a causal, rather than by means of a symptomatic therapy,'[81] Hirschfeld advocated a social and sexual reform that would eliminate the conditions that force women into prostitution and men to make do with it.[82] While admitting that prostitution has deep roots in history, society and religion, Hirschfeld, the socialist,[83] never resigned to its alleged necessity, contending that in matriarchal societies this form of exploitation of women was nonexistent.[84]
  16. Cognisant of the 'internationality of all sexual problems of humanity,'[85] Hirschfeld dismisses the possibility of resolving them by means of the asceticism preached by most world religions. Thus not surprisingly, Hirschfeld underscores the affinity between his own thought on sexuality and the eroticism permeated with the ethical, but a-religious principles of Confucius, whom Hirschfeld apostrophised as 'the Chinese Nietzsche.'[86] Despite his general distaste for organised religion, however, Hirschfeld does not regard asceticism as a necessary component of religious worldviews.[87] On the contrary, he distinguishes between religions he sees as inimical to sexuality (like Christianity) and those favourable to it (like Islam),[88] and eventually maintained that 'deep religiosity and sexuality by no means exclude one another.'[89] Hirschfeld's nuanced stance certainly benefited from his acquaintance with the Hindu and Buddhist traditions,[90] with the monotheistic spiritualities of 'Moses, Jesus, Muhammad,'[91] and even with minority religious formations such as Shinto,[92] Jainism,[93] and Zoroastrianism.[94] Furthermore, Hirschfeld was particularly well informed about religious groups with an outspoken appreciation of sexuality. Their spectrum ranges from tantrism[95] and the Baul, a mystical-erotic sect renowned for its carezza-method of love,[96] to Din-I-Illahi, a short-lived, ecumenical religion founded by Akbar the Great (1542-1605),[97] whose grandson constructed 'the most sublime and exquisite monument of love,'[98] India's Taj Mahal. Although many of Hirschfeld's elaborations in this respect are clearly designed to acquit religion per se from the charge of being inimical to sexuality and erotic love, his overall line of argument seeks to show that no historical religion is capable of satisfying the theoretical and emancipatory demands made by his sexology.
  17. Parallel to his study of historical religions, Hirschfeld focused on residual or subjacent cultural contents indicative of a Weltanschauung very different from the ones propounded by full-fledged religious traditions. In this connection, Hirschfeld reports that in Bali 'still reigns a real and far-reaching pansexualism, an erotic all-love, which was perhaps the reason why many nations in the past gave sexual valences to all beings and things.'[99] Furthermore, Hirschfeld regrets not having been able to visit Burma, where, according to a scholarly informant from India, there were still inhabitants of remote areas unacquainted with the concept of marriage.[100] In his search for prehistoric traces in current cultural configurations, Hirschfeld ascertained the unabated magical and ritual relevancy of lingams in widely dispersed locations between Japan and Western India. He mentions for instance that remains of a phallus cult associated with hopes for fertility and male progeniture have survived in Japanese rural areas independently of Buddhism and Shinto.[101] In Batavia, the present-day Jakarta, Hirschfeld observed such a longing for fertility that the phallic resemblance of a cannon sufficed to cause, year after year, thousands of women from all parts of Java to make pilgrimages to it and present their offerings in exchange for pregnancy.[102] Later on, professors from the University of Benares told Hirschfeld that the cult of Siva—the god of destruction in the triadic godhead of Hinduism—probably found the lingam already in India and eventually accepted it as Siva's genital organ, thus supporting the conjecture that the lingam cult is 'older than the Hindu religion, older, indeed, than religion in general.'[103] Hirschfeld's interest in possible evidence for a worldview antedating the inception of existing religious traditions is especially apparent in the chapter titled 'Lingam triumphs over Siva,'[104] as well as in the passages relating his visit—just before his final departure from India—to the lingam shrines in Elephanta, an island off Bombay. At this site, 'where the territorial ascendancy of Siva ends and Allah's single lordship begins,'[105] Hirschfeld imagined the godly lingam addressing the crowds of its believers in terms that come close to his own Goethean- and Nietzschean-inspired vitalism: 'I am the organ and the symbol of all-destructive Siva, who brings ruin, war and death to humanity, but I am at the same time the organ of perpetual re-birth, the emblem of life that continually renews itself through love, of the "Die and Become!"'[106]
  18. Notwithstanding his interest in lingams and yonis[107] as prehistoric tokens of a pansexual, fertility-oriented worldview, Hirschfeld had good reasons for not idealising the remote past prior to the emergence of historical religions. On the one hand, he realised that the prehistoric sacralisation of reproduction was based on the binomial scheme of sexual distribution that his doctrine of sexual intermediaries was designed to supersede. On the other, he could not advocate a sexual life devoid of the ethical criteria initially developed within the great religious traditions. In as much as the primitive lingam/yoni dichotomy is prolonged in the conceptualisation of binary sexuality sanctioned by world religions, Hirschfeld's postulation of potentially infinite sexualities marks an epochal break with the disjunctive understanding of sexual difference prevalent since prehistoric times. Against this background, it is not surprising that Hirschfeld highlights in Weltreise diverse instantiations of sexual intermediariness that conspicuously challenge the reductive patterns of sexual dichotomisation. The cases mentioned by Hirschfeld include non-homosexual male transvestites and homosexual male impersonators of women in the Kabuki theatre,[108] Balinese transvestite dancers,[109] as well as homosexual and pseudo-homosexual yogis.[110] In this connection, Hirschfeld also refers to the androgynous Buddha statues in Japan,[111] to the double-sexed Siva represented as Arahanarismwar,[112] and even to the homosexual moths of the Chinese silkworm whose incidence constitutes 3 per cent of the total population, and thus equals the rate of human homosexuals Hirschfeld reckoned with in any society.[113] Despite the wealth of evidence he reports, however, Hirschfeld avoided making elaborate emancipatory claims concerning the sexual minorities he encountered throughout his journey. Given the pervasiveness of the oppression of women in Asia, Hirschfeld considered their emancipation the most urgent task of any libertarian sexual politics.
  19. Hirschfeld was well aware of the limited validity of his perceptions of Asia as a result not only of the time and geographic constrictions of his journey, but also—and more importantly—of the specific cultural outlook that sustained his research and emancipatory endeavors. As a reserved foreigner prepared to relativise his cultural standards, Hirschfeld observed with interest, for instance, that a picture of the imperial couple could be found in almost every Japanese brothel room, and that the prostitute and her client would reverentially bow in front of the picture 'before proceeding, she to her business and he to his pleasure.'[114] However, in dealing with issues that implied a flagrant disregard of basic human rights—such as the pre-arrangement of children marriages,[115] the circumcision of girls[116] or the enslavement of women in harems and brothels[117]—Hirschfeld made no effort to conceal his utter revulsion. Indicatively, when Hirschfeld focuses on these kinds of issues in Weltreise, he does not assume that Western mores could offer the paradigms required for judging or condemning Asian insufficiencies. Instead, Hirschfeld regards Oriental and Western articulations of gender and sexuality as related configurations within a cultural continuum requiring critical analysis as a whole. To concretise this relatedness, Hirschfeld argues that the difference between the stomach-slapping of Ceylonese forest people and the buttocks-slapping of Bavarian dancers is hardly greater than that between the nose-rings of Indian women and the earrings of their European counterparts.[118] Being 'basically the same,'[119] these phenomena suggest that, ultimately, there 'is no essential difference between "primitive" and "civilized" people.'[120] Like in the case of sexual or racial individuation, Hirschfeld considers the specificity of mores and institutions not to be the result of discrete, isolated qualities, but of gradual differentiations within an open totality, so that, in principle, any concrete cultural realisation becomes intelligible through its relationship to the continuity in which it is embedded. Mindful of 'the opposition between the mighty vastness of Nature and the human pettiness and narrow-mindedness,'[121] Hirschfeld insisted on the relatedness and relativity of the phenomena he discusses, and refuses to attribute the status of a paradigm to any concrete realisation of the potentialities that inhere in the continua. Concretisations are the objects, not the criteria of critique.

  20. During his journey, Hirschfeld became convinced that colonialist oppression would inevitably lead to a world conflict. While in China, he referred to 'flashes of lightning of a perhaps not very distant world-storm.'[122] In Egypt he observed that 'under an apparently smooth surface mighty and explosive forces are bubbling, whose elemental outburst will hardly be prevented in the long run and will take a high toll of human lives, unless "the seething popular soul" is released from the weight of oppression.'[123] In view of these threats, Hirschfeld dismisses pacifist appeals as mere 'wish-fantasy without foundation in the past or a well-grounded prospect of realization.'[124] As to his own stance, Hirschfeld admitted that 'the idea of "war never again" suffers heavy losses in the course of a world trip,'[125] and declared himself a supporter of the liberation politics personified by Sun Yat Sen in China,[126] Mahatma Gandhi in India,[127] and Zaghlul Pasha and Nahas Pasha in Egypt.[128] Anticipating that his numerous conservative and Nazi critics would object to his endorsement of emancipist movements, Hirschfeld asserted that politics and the love life of nations are intimately connected because they are both rooted in the sentiment of freedom.[129] A monist in the philosophical tradition of Baruch de Spinoza, Hirschfeld argued that the profusion of capacities and potentials the individual receives from Nature could only be actualised and deployed within the framework of a socialist and libertarian politics. From this perspective, the political implementation of what the legal scholar Rudolf Goldscheid (and Hirschfeld after him) had termed 'sexual human rights'[130] would have to begin with the acknowledgment that sexualities —in accordance with the doctine of sexual intermediaries—are as diverse as the number of sexed individuals.
  21. As one of the founding texts of sexual ethnology, Weltreise is designed to document the diversity of sexual mores (Sitten) Hirschfeld met during his trip. At the same time, the report conveys their failure to cope with the complexities of human sexuality, and thus to suffice the criteria of a universally valid sexual morality (Sittlichkeit). On the assumption that only science is capable of grasping sexuality in the richness of its constitutive differences, Hirschfeld's sexual ethnology contributes to lay the base of a future sexual ethics in accordance with 'the ideal republic of humanity, of which so many have dreamed—from Plato to Kant and [Auguste] Forel.'[131] It was Hirschfeld's conviction that the 'United States of Earth'[132] could only be achieved with the aid of a 'panhumanism and cosmopolitanism'[133] countering the pretensions of a exclusive sexuality, race or culture to access humanness. In Hirschfeld's path 'from science to justice,' the acknowledgement of the sexual and racial uniqueness of every individual constitutes a sine qua non for realising the ethical commonality of the human.

  22. In his book Freud and the Non-European,[134] Edward W. Said portrays Sigmund Freud as 'an overturner and a re-mapper of accepted or settled geographies and genealogies.'[135] This depiction of the father of psychoanalysis could be applied perhaps even more pertinently to Magnus Hirschfeld in consideration of his far-reaching deconstructive endeavours. While Said is obliged to restrict his praise of Freud as Aufklärer and concedes that the animating principle of his work was not really 'the notion that there were other cultures besides that of Europe about which one need to think,'[136] a similar admission in the case of Hirschfeld would have been inappropriate, for his grasp of Otherness constitutes the organising principle of his critical approach. Significantly, Said stresses that Freud limited his recognition of the non-European to 'a sort of fissure in the figure of Moses—founder of Judaism, but an unreconstructed non-Jewish Egyptian none the less.'[137] Freud's half-hearted acceptance of cultural Otherness seems to correspond, according to Said, to the absence of a critical stance vis-à-vis 'Europe as the malevolent colonizing power described a few decades later by [Frantz] Fanon and the critics of Eurocentrism.'[138] In his elaborations, Said assumes that the inception of twentieth century anti-colonialist critique took place within the post-Freudian framework of Third-World ideologies, and thereby overlooks Hirschfeld's critical accomplishments in the early 1930s. As expressed in Weltreise, Hirschfeld's approach to Otherness and the anti-colonialist stance implied therein contrast with Freud's restrictive assessment of non-Jewish Otherness in Der Mann Moses und die Monotheistische Religion. Drei Abhandlungen [The man Moses and monotheistic religion: Three treatises].[139] Differing from Freud, Hirschfeld does not intend to reduce Otherness to a historical token of the non-Jewish origins of Judaism. Rather, Hirschfeld assumes an ever-present Otherness effective in the memory of a nomadic past that Judaism preserves and actualises in its diasporic existence. Free from apologetic or systematic constrictions, Hirschfeld is not distracted by the alleged necessity of 'overrid[ing] or repress[ing] the flaw'[140] of a non-Jewish origin of Judaism—as Said would put it—for such an origin is not a 'flaw,' but the challenging trace of the Other inscribed in the core of what it means to be Jewish. Instead of confining Otherness to Jewish ur-history, Hirschfeld reclaims it as the dynamic force that prevents the closures of the identical and contributes to 'mend the world'——by dissolving its idolatrous fixations. In the last resort, Hirschfeld undertakes the critical deconstruction of identities based on categorial subsumptions of sexes, races or cultures in correspondence to the Jewish ethical and religious message of the Uniqueness of the Other. In light of this message, the expression 'identités meurtrières'[141] (i.e. 'murderous identities') evinces itself as pleonastic.


    [1]The present article is a revised version of a paper delivered at Genders, Sexualities and Rights in Asia: 1st International Conference of Asian Queer Studies, held in Bangkok, Thailand, 7-9 July, 2005.

    [2]Magnus Hirschfeld, Mein Testament, Heft II, p. 47, available at Archiv der Magnus-Hirschfeld-Gesellschaft: '"My field is the world"—not Germany, not Europe alone,' quoted in Ralf Dose, Magnus Hirschfeld. Deutscher—Jude—Weltbürger, Teetz (Germany): Verlag Hentrich & Hentrich, 2005, p. 83.

    [3]The book has been published three times in English under titles that do not correspond to that of the original edition: Magnus Hirschfeld, Women East and West: Impressions of a Sex Expert, trans. O.P. Green, London: W. Heinemann, 1935; Magnus Hirschfeld, Men and Women: The World Journey of a Sexologist, with an introduction by A.A. Brill, New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1935, reprint: New York: AMS, 1974; Magnus Hirschfeld, Curious Sex Customs in the Far East, New York: Grosset & Dunlap, 1935, reprint: New York: Capricorn, 1965. The title of the French translation comes closer to the German: Magnus Hirschfeld, Le Tour du monde d'un sexologue, trans. L. Gara, Paris: Gallimard, 1938. Since the text of the British and American editions is an 'English version by O.P. Green' that can hardly be considered an adequate rendering of the original, all quotations from Weltreise have been translated by the author. The endnotes refer to the first German edition: Magnus Hirschfeld, Die Weltreise eines Sexualforschers, Brugg (Switzerland): Bözberg-Verlag, 1933. In cases when it might be illuminating for readers of German, the original German text of Weltreise has been quoted following the page reference in the endnotes. For a more recent edition see Magnus Hirschfeld, Weltreise eines Sexualforschers im Jahre 1931/32, Vorgestellt und mit einem Vorwort versehen von Hans Christoph Buch [presented by and with a foreword by Hans Christian Buch], Frankfurt am Main: Eichborn Verlag, 2006.

    [4] Magnus Hirschfeld, Geschlechtskunde auf Grund dreißigjähriger Forschung und Erfahrung bearbeitet, 5 Bände, Stuttgart: Julius Püttmann, Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1926-1930.

    [5] J. Edgar Bauer, 'Der Tod Adams. Geschichtsphilosophische Thesen zur Sexualemanzipation im Werk Magnus Hirschfelds,' in 100 Jahre Schwulenbewegung. Dokumentation einer Vortragsreihe in der Akademie der Künste. Ausgewählt und herausgegeben von Manfred Herzer, Berlin: Verlag rosa Winkel, 1998, pp. 15-45, reprinted in Durch Wissenschaft zur Gerechtigkeit? Textsammlung zur kritischen Rezeption des Schaffens von Magnus Hirschfeld, ed. Andreas Seeck, Münster, Hamburg, and London: Lit Verlag, 2003, pp. 133-55.

    [6] '"Dr. Einstein of Sex" not so favorably impressed by U.S,' in Wisconsin News (Milwaukee), 2 February 1931, pp. 1, 4. See also James D. Steakley (ed.), The Writings of Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld: A Bibliography Compiled and Introduced by James D. Steakley, Toronto: Canadian Gay Archives Publication Series, No. 11, Berlin: Schriftenreihe der Magnus-Hirschfeld-Gesellschaft, Nr. 2, 1985, p. 43.

    [7] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 5. Quoted in English by Hirschfeld.

    [8] Tellingly, Hirschfeld wrote that for him as a sex researcher, the culmination of his journey in India was his four-day stay in Patna, the old Pataliputra, where Vatsayana had penned his classic treatise. See Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 234.

    [9] For further details concerning Hirschfeld's life, see the standard biography: Manfred Herzer, Magnus Hirschfeld. Leben und Werk eines jüdischen, schwulen und sozialistischen Sexologen, Zweite, überarbeitete Auflage, Hamburg: MännerschwarmSkript Verlag, 2001. For a biography in English, see Charlotte Wolff, Magnus Hirschfeld: A Portrait of a Pioneer in Sexology, London, Melbourne, and New York: Quartet Books, 1986.

    [10] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 345.

    [11] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 91.

    [12] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 128.

    [13] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 231.

    [14] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 199.

    [15] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 299.

    [16] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 3: '...ihrem Inhalt nach die älteste, ihrer Behandlung nach die jüngste.'

    [17] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. vi: 'Denn so gleichartig auf der ganzen Erde die biologischen und pathologischen Grundlagen auf dem Geschlechtsgebiet sind, so verschiedenartig sind die soziologischen Auswirkungen, Lösungen und Beurteilungen dieses Naturtriebes ...'

    [18] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 12.

    [19] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 12: 'Die symbolistischen und idealistischen Erklärungen sind nachträgliche Konstruktionen.'

    [20] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 12: 'Jedes Volk (und jede Religion) hat die Überzeugung, daß seine Sitte Sittlichkeit im objektiven Sinne sei. Dementsprechend neigt es dazu, jede andere Sitte als mehr oder weniger unsittlich zu verwerfen.'

    [21] Magnus Hirschfeld, Von einst bis jetzt. Geschichte einer homosexuellen Bewegung. 1897-1922, Herausgegeben und mit einem Nachwort versehen von Manfred Herzer und James Steakley, Berlin: Verlag rosa Winkel, 1986, p. 126: '[die] Weltsündenböcke...die seit Einführung des Christentums für alles Leid und Unglück dieser Welt verantwortlich gemacht zu werden pflegen, [die] Juden und [die] Homosexuellen...'

    [22] J. Edgar Bauer, '"Ahasverische Unruhe" und "Menschheitsassimilation": Zu Magnus Hirschfelds Auffassung vom Judentum,' in Der Sexualreformer Magnus Hirschfeld. Ein Leben im Spannungsfeld von Wissenschaft, Politik und Gesellschaft, ed. Elke-Vera Kotowski & Julius H. Schoeps, Berlin: Be.Bra Wissenschaft Verlag, 2004, pp. 271-91; J. Edgar Bauer, 'On the nameless love and infinite sexualities: John Henry Mackay, Magnus Hirschfeld and the origins of the sexual emancipation movement,' in Journal of Homosexuality 50(1) (2005):1-26.

    [23] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 390: '...das Schicksal dieses "unstet und flüchtig" herumwandernden Volkes, das nirgends eine eigentliche Heimstätte finden kann und doch überall eine große menschliche Mission erfüllt.'

    [24] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 329: '...daß die jetzt seßhaften Völker...bevor sie Heimat und Stall fanden, ausnahmslos freizügig...herumschweiften.'

    [25] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 329: '...ob es nicht doch dieser atavistische Urgrund ist, als dessen Folge der Drang nach Freiheit, verbunden mit einer gewissen Unruhe, noch jetzt so tief in allen Menschen wurzelt, dieser Zug ins Weite, der sich so schwer auf die Dauer eindämmen läßt?'

    [26] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 329: '...die vor Jahrtausenden zwischen den Stromgebieten des Nil, Euphrat und Jordan...herumschweifenden Nomadenstämme ..'

    [27] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 329: 'Ob...die ahasverische Unruhe der Juden...ein Erbstück aus ihrer nomadischen Urzeit ist?'

    [28] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 12: 'Es ist der Menschheit bisher nicht gelungen, eine einheitliche Lösungsform der Geschlechts- und Liebessitten zu finden, die den Ergebnissen sexualbiologischer und sexualsoziologischer Forschung in gleicher Weise entspricht.'

    [29] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 12: 'Nur eine objektive wissenschaftliche Menschen- und Geschlechtskunde kann für die volle Verwirklichung der sexuellen Menschenrechte Bahnbrecher und Wegbereiter sein.'

    [30] For elaborations on this issue, see J. Edgar Bauer, 'Magnus Hirschfelds "Zwischenstufenlehre" und die "Zwischenstufentheorie" seiner Interpreten. Notizen über eine rezeptionsgeschichtliche Konfusion,' in Capri. Zeitschrift für schwule Geschichte 35 (2004):36-44; J. Edgar Bauer, 'Magnus Hirschfeld. Der Sexualdenker und das Zerrbild des Sexualreformers,' in Capri. Zeitschrift für schwule Geschichte 37 (2005):5-18; J. Edgar Bauer, 'Cogitus Interruptus: Zu Ralph Doses Versuch, eine Miniatur Magnus Hirschfelds vorzulegen,' in Capri. Zeitschrift für schwule Geschichte 38 (2006):37-42.

    [31] For the treatment of some relevant exceptions, see J. Edgar Bauer, 'Gender and the nemesis of nature: on Magnus Hirschfeld's deconstruction of the sexual binary and the concept of "Sexual Human Rights",' in Two Is Not Enough for Gender (E)quality, ed. A. Hodzic & J. Postic, Zagreb: CESI & Ženska soba, 2006, pp. 153-71. The article can also be accessed at: An authorised Bosnian-Serbo-Croatian translation of this essay can be found at 'Rod i Nemesis Prirode. O dekonstrukciji binarne podjele spola i konceptu "ljudskih seksualnih prava" Magnusa Hirschfelda,' URL:

    [32] Interestingly, this decisive aspect is ignored in the general assessment of Hirschfeld's work included in the foreword by Hans Christian Buch to the 2006 German edition of Weltreise. Instead of focusing on the theoretical relevance and originality of Hirschfeld's doctrine of sexual intermediaries, Buch conveniently expatiates on the sexologist's merits as author of popularising books and sexual minority rights activist. See Hans Christian Buch, 'Vorwort,' in Magnus Hirschfeld, Weltreise eines Sexualforschers im Jahre 1931/32, Vorgestellt und mit einem Vorwort versehen von Hans Christoph Buch, Frankfurt am Main: Eichborn Verlag, 2006, pp. 11-21.

    [33] Hirschfeld formulated his doctrine in nuce for the first time in a treatise published under a pseudonym: Th. Ramien [=Magnus Hirschfeld], Sappho und Sokrates, oder Wie erklärt sich die Liebe der Männer und Frauen zu Personen des eigenen Geschlechts? Leipzig: Max Spohr, 1896. The second edition was issued under his real name: Magnus Hirschfeld, Sappho und Sokrates. Wie erklärt sich die Liebe der Männer und Frauen zu Personen des eigenen Geschlechts? Zweite Auflage, Leipzig: Max Spohr, 1902. Considering the dates of publication (1896, 1902), it becomes clear that Hirschfeld's contentions regarding the sexual intermediariness of all human beings could not have been influenced by Sigmund Freud's theory of innate bisexuality, as Hans Christian Buch wrongly asserts (see Buch, 'Vorwort,' p. 15). He seems to have overlooked that Freud's book Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality was published in 1905.

    [34] For a detailed analysis of Hirschfeld's doctrine, see Bauer, 'Der Tod Adams.' Further elaborations on the issue are included in: J. Edgar Bauer, 'Über Hirschfelds Anspruch. Eine Klarstellung,' in Mitteilungen der Magnus-Hirschfeld-Gesellschaft 29/30 (1999):66-80; J. Edgar Bauer, 'Magnus Hirschfeld: per scientiam ad justitiam. Eine zweite Klarstellung,' in Mitteilungen der Magnus-Hirschfeld-Gesellschaft 33/34 (2002):68-90; J. Edgar Bauer, 'Magnus Hirschfeld: Sexualidentität und Geschichtsbewußtsein. Eine dritte Klarstellung,' in Mitteilungen der Magnus-Hirschfeld-Gesellschaft, Nr. 37/38, 2006 (forthcoming).

    [35] In his book The Genealogy of Queer Theory, William B. Turner takes a characteristic post-modern stance when arguing that the actual philosophical relevancy of queerness is not so much that it merely challenges the contents of specific sexual categories, but rather that it raises the question of the epistemological status of categories per se. He writes: 'Queerness indicates merely the failure to fit precisely within a category, and surely all persons at some time or other find themselves discomfited by the bounds of the categories that ostensibly contain their identities.' See William B. Turner, A Genealogy of Queer Theory, Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2000, p. 8.

    [36] Sigmund Freud was the most influential figure who interpreted Hirschfeld's sexological contentions in this sense. Thus, in a passage targeting primarily Hirschfeld, Freud wrote: 'Die homosexuellen Männer, die in unseren Tagen eine energische Aktion gegen die gesetzliche Einschränkung ihrer Sexualbetätigung unternommen haben, lieben es, sich durch ihre theoretischen Wortführer als eine von Anfang an gesonderte geschlechtliche Abart, als sexuelle Zwischenstufen, als ein "drittes Geschlecht" hinstellen zu lassen.' ['The homosexual men who have undertaken an energetic action against the legal restriction of their sexual activities, like to be exhibited by their theoretical spokesmen as a sexual deviation that is separate from the beginning, as sexual intermediary stages, as a "third sex"']. Sigmund Freud, 'Eine Kindheitserinnerung des Leonardo da Vinci,' in Sigmund Freud, Studienausgabe, Band X: Bildende Kunst und Literatur, ed. Alexander Mitscherlich et al., Frankfurt am Main: S. Fischer Verlag, 1969, p. 124 (translation by the author).

    [37] Magnus Hirschfeld, 'Das angeblich dritte Geschlecht des Menschen. Eine Erwiderung [auf G. Fritsch],' in Zeitschrift für Sexualwissenschaft 6 (1919):21-27, p. 22.

    [38] Magnus Hirschfeld, 'Die intersexuelle Konstitution,' in Jahrbuch für sexuelle Zwischenstufen 23 (1923):3-27, p. 24.

    [39] Hirschfeld, Von einst bis jetzt, p. 49: 'Alle Menschen sind intersexuelle Varianten...'

    [40] Hirschfeld, 'Die intersexuelle Konstitution,' p. 23: '...etwas Vollständiges oder auch nur nahezu Abgeschlossenes...'

    [41] Hirschfeld, 'Die intersexuelle Konstitution,' p. 23: '...Notbehelf...'

    [42] Hirschfeld, 'Die intersexuelle Konstitution,' p. 23: '...allzu oberflächliche Einteilungsschema der Sexualkonstitution in Mann und Weib...'

    [43] Magnus Hirschfeld, Geschlechts-Übergänge. Mischungen männlicher und weiblicher Geschlechtscharaktere (Sexuelle Zwischenstufen), Erweiterte Ausgabe eines auf der 76. Naturforscherversammlung zu Breslau gehaltenen Vortrages, Leipzig: Verlag der Monatsschrift für Harnkrankheiten und sexuelle Hygiene, W. Malende, 1905. (2. Auflage: Leipzig: Verlag von Max Spohr (Inh. Ferd. Spohr), 1913.)

    [44] Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, 'Nouveaux essais sur l'entendement' [IV,16,12], in Die philosophischen Schriften von Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, ed. C.J. Gerhardt, Band 5, Hildesheim-New York: Georg Olms Verlag, 1978, pp. 39-509, p. 455.

    [45] Magnus Hirschfeld, Die Homosexualität des Mannes und des Weibes, Nachdruck der Erstauflage von 1914 mit einer kommentierenden Einleitung von E.J. Haeberle, Berlin / New York: Walter de Gruyter, 1984, p. 357; and Magnus Hirschfeld, Geschlechtskunde auf Grund dreißigjähriger Forschung und Erfahrung bearbeitet, 1. Band: Die körperseelischen Grundlagen, Stuttgart: Julius Püttmann, Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1926, pp. 547-48.

    [46] J. Edgar Bauer, '"43 046 721 Sexualtypen." Anmerkungen zu Magnus Hirschfelds Zwischenstufenlehre und der Unendlichkeit der Geschlechter,' in Capri. Zeitschrift für schwule Geschichte 33 (2002):23-30.

    [47] J. Edgar Bauer, 'Deconstruction and liberation: on Magnus Hirschfeld's universalization of sexual intermediariness and racial hybridity,' in Gender Studies Here and Now, ed. FOTIM [Foundation of Tertiary Institutions of the Northern Metropolis, Johannesburg, South Africa], CD-ROM Format, ISBN 0-9584986-4-4, Johannesburg and Pretoria, South Africa, 2006. The study can also be accessed at:

    [48] Magnus Hirschfeld, 'Phantom Rasse. Ein Hirngespinst als Weltgefahr' (8. Fortsetzung), in Die Wahrheit, Prag 14, 2 (1935) [Caption of the paragraph: "Bastarde" und "Reine Linie"]: 'Biologisch genau genommen, sind alle Menschen Bastarde...' There is an edited version in English of this text: Magnus Hirschfeld, Racism, trans. and ed., Eden & Cedar Paul, London: Victor Gollancz Ltd., 1938. The corresponding passage is included on page 198.

    [49] Hirschfeld, 'Phantom Rasse. Ein Hirngespinst als Weltgefahr' (12. Fortsetzung), in Die Wahrheit, Prag, 14, 6 (1935) [Caption of the paragraph: Menschliche Varianten und Typen]: 'Schon einer der größten Naturforscher Frankreichs, Lamarck, hatte mit Rücksicht auf die unendliche Fülle ererbter Eigenschaften und Erscheinungen gesagt, daß alle Einteilungen der Geschöpfe im letzten Grunde nur "künstliche Mittel" seien: die Natur selbst...kennt weder Klassen noch Arten.'

    [50] Hirschfeld, 'Phantom Rasse. Ein Hirngespinst als Weltgefahr' (14 [actually: 15.] Fortsetzung), in Die Wahrheit, Prag, 14, 9 (1935) [Caption of the paragraph: Zoologischer Rasseglauben [sic]]: 'Die Kultur ist ein Ergebnis der rassischen Vermischungen, und nur diese Vermischung rettet vor der Barbarei.'

    [51] The reference is to: Arthur Sopher, Chinese Jews, Shanghai, 1926 (and not as Hirschfeld mentions: 1930). See Irene Eber, 'Overland and by sea: eight centuries of the Jewish presence in China,' in Chinese Journal of International Law 4(1) (2005):235-56.

    [52] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 83.

    [53] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 278.

    [54] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 392.

    [55] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 68.

    [56] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, pp. 259-60.

    [57] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, pp. 87-89, 93, 138-39, 145, 196, 215-17, 238-39, 311-12, 366-67.

    [58] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 93.

    [59] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 196.

    [60] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 238. Quoted in English in the German edition.

    [61] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 239. Quoted in English in the German edition.

    [62] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 311: 'Nirgends findet man soviel "Angst vor der eigenen Courage" wie dort, wo sich Menschen zu der inneren Überzeugung durchgerungen haben, daß die herrschende Sexualeinstellung einer objektiven Nachprüfung bedarf.'

    [63] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 289.

    [64] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 68: 'Die moderne chinesische Jugend ist in vieler Hinsicht traditionell unbeschwerter als die anderer Länder. Vor allem fehlen ihr religiöse Skrupel. Es ist in Europa ziemlich wenig bekannt, daß mindestens vierhundert Millionen Chinesen weder eine Religion besitzen noch vermissen...So sind sie auf die Realität des Diesseits, nicht auf ein illusionäres Jenseits eingestellt.'

    [65] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 68.

    [66] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 94.

    [67] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 84.

    [68] While in India, Hirschfeld severely criticised the religiously sanctioned caste system, the seclusion of women in the purdah and the burning of widows (see Hirschfeld, Weltreise, pp. 223-24, 282). Besides, he was not enthusiastic about Japan's Westernisation and hoped that India would not allow 'its original force and spirit to be crushed by the American-European mill of prudery and prohibition.' (Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 282: '...durch die amerikanisch-europäische Walze der Prüderie und Prohibition seine Urkraft und seinen Urgeist zermalmen lassen!') Hirschfeld's personal preferences are expressed unambiguously when he points out, 'one has to admire America and Japan, China one must love.' (Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 119: 'Amerika und Japan muß man bewundern, China muß man lieben.')

    [69] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 69. Hirschfeld mentions the two nouns in English.

    [70] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, pp. 68, 74, 82, 102, 105, 118, 119, 134, 161, 166, 176, 214, 230, 238, 253, 260, 268, 336, 375.

    [71] Although in Weltreise Hirschfeld refers to his Chinese disciple as Tao Li, Tao or Li, his actual name was Li Shiu Tong (1907-1993). According to Hirschfeld's depiction, he belonged to one of the most distinguished families of the country, had studied philosophy and medicine in Hong Kong and Shanghai, and was familiar with the work of Havelock Ellis, Sigmund Freud, C.G. Jung and Iwan Bloch, among others (see Hirschfeld, Weltreise, pp. 68-69). Hirschfeld made Tao Li and Karl Giese, a collaborator of many years, his universal heirs. Li Shiu Tong inspired the writer Robert S. Hichens to create the figure of Kho Ling in his novel That Which is Hidden, London: Cassell, 1939. Until recently, the information concerning Tao Li's life following Hirschfeld's passing was scarce (see Ralf Dose, 'In memoriam Li Shiu Tong (1907-1993) zu seinem 10. Todestag am 5.10.2003,' in Mitteilungen der Magnus-Hirschfeld-Gesellschaft 35/36 (2003): 9-23; Dose, Magnus Hirschfeld, pp. 113-18). Tao Li died in Vancouver, Canada.

    [72] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, pp, 25, 38. While Yoshiwara's reputation as a brothel quarter in the Edo era and on into the twentieth century is well attested, it has not been possible to identify any past or present red-light districts whose designations clearly correspond with the place names Hirschfeld transcribes as 'Shimbuko' (Tokyo) and 'Tokido' (Osaka). As indicated in the passages referred to, Hirschfeld also visited the 'gay quarters' in Yokohama, Kobe, Osaka and Nagasaki.

    [73] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 80.

    [74] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, pp. 97-100, 194-95, 286-87.

    [75] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 38.

    [76] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 99.

    [77] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 42.

    [78] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 98: 'Es gibt wenige Orte, an denen sich die geschminkte Kulturheuchelei europäischer Kolonisatoren so ungeschminkt enthüllt wie in Macao.'

    [79] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 204.

    [80] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 195. Hirschfeld mentions the term in English.

    [81] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 194.

    [82] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, pp. 80, 194.

    [83] In Weltreise, Hirschfeld explicitly relates prostitution to 'capitalistic interests.' See Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 40: '...kapitalistischen Interessen...'

    [84] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, pp. 37-38.

    [85] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 308.

    [86] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 58: '...der chinesische Nietzsche...'

    [87] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 11.

    [88] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p 11. The corresponding German terms are: 'sexualfeindliche' and 'sexualfreundliche Religionen.'

    [89] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 306.

    [90] See, for instance, Hirschfeld, Weltreise, pp. 199-200, 232-23, 233-34, 240-42, 242-45.

    [91] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 353.

    [92] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 32.

    [93] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 277.

    [94] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, pp. 274-77.

    [95] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, pp. 212-13.

    [96] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 213.

    [97] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 257.

    [98] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 253.

    [99] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 153: 'Hier herrscht wirklich noch ein weitgehender Pansexualismus, jene auch erotisch betonte Alliebe, die einstmals vielleicht der Anlaß war, dass viele Völker allen Wesen und Dingen ein geschlechtliches Vorzeichen gaben.'

    [100] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 196.

    [101] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 49.

    [102] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 157.

    [103] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 243.

    [104] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 242.

    [105] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 281: 'Wo Siwas Machtbezirk endet und Allahs Alleinherrschaft beginnt ....'

    [106] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 281: '... ich bin das Organ und das Symbol des alles vernichtenden Siwa, der den Menschen zwar Zerstörung, Krieg und Tod bringt, ich bin aber zugleich auch das Organ der ewigen Wiedergeburt, Emblem des sich durch Liebe fort und fort erneuernden Lebens, des "Stirb und Werde".'

    [107] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 209. In general, Hirschfeld rarely mentions yonis as counterparts of lingams.

    [108] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 46.

    [109] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 164.

    [110] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 248.

    [111] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, pp. 48-49.

    [112] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 281.

    [113] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, pp. 89-90.

    [114] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 28.

    [115] See, for instance, Hirschfeld, Weltreise, pp. 204-05, 295.

    [116] See, for instance, Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 290.

    [117] See, for instance, Hirschfeld, Weltreise, pp. 300, 194-95.

    [118] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 198.

    [119] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 198: 'Im Grunde ist es das Gleiche.'

    [120] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 150: 'Auch in dieser Hinsicht sind zwischen 'Natur'- und 'Kultur'-Völkern keine wesentlichen Unterschiede vorhanden.'

    [121] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 221: '...der...Gegensatz zwischen der gewaltigen Größe der Natur and der menschlichen Kleinheit und Kleinigkeit.'

    [122] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 61.

    [123] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 350.

    [124] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 62.

    [125] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 62: 'Der Nie-wieder-Krieg-Gedanke erleidet auf einer Weltreise schwere Einbuße.'

    [126] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, pp. 87, 118-20, 346.

    [127] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, pp. 205, 224.

    [128] Hirschfeld, Weltreise p. 345.

    [129] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, pp. 348-49.

    [130] Rudolf Goldscheid, 'Zur Geschichte der Sexualmoral,' in Sexualnot und Sexualreform. Verhandlungen der Weltliga für Sexualreform. IV. Kongress abgehalten zu Wien vom 16. bis 23. September 1930, Redigiert von Dr. Herbert Steiner, Wien: Elbemühl-Verlag, 1931, pp. 279-302, especially pp. 299-300. Hirschfeld, who was the first to publicise the concept (see Magnus Hirschfeld, 'Was will die Zeitschrift "Sexus"?' in Sexus. Internationale Zeitschrift für die gesamte Sexualwissenschaft und Sexualreform, Herausgegeben vom Institut für Sexualwissenschaft, Berlin 1 (1933):4-5), uses the term at the end of the introduction to Weltreise. See Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 12.

    [131] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 349: '...zum idealen Menschheitsstaat, von dem von Plato bis Kant und Forel so viele träumten.'

    [132] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 392: '...die Vereinigten Staaten der Erde...'

    [133] Hirschfeld, Weltreise, p. 392: '...Panhumanismus und Kosmopolitismus...'

    [134] Edward W. Said, Freud and the Non-European, with an introduction by Christian Bollas and a response by Jacqueline Rose, published in association with the Freud Museum, London, London & New York: Verso, 2003.

    [135] Said, Freud and the non-European, p. 27.

    [136] Said, Freud and the non-European, p. 22.

    [137] Said, Freud and the non-European, p. 42 (emphasis added).

    [138] Said, Freud and the non-European, p. 50-51.

    [139] Sigmund Freud, Der Mann Moses und die monotheistische Religion. Drei Abhandlungen, Amsterdam: Verlag Albert de Lange, 1939. The English translation was published in the same year: Sigmund Freud, Moses and Monotheism. Three Essays, trans. Katherine Jones, London: The Hogarth Press, and New York: Knopf, 1939.

    [140] Said, Freud and the non-European, p. 55.

    [141] Thus the title of the thought-provoking book: Amin Maalouf, Les Identités meurtrières, Paris: Grasset, 1998.


This paper was originally published in Intersections: Gender, History and Culture in the Asian Context, with the assistance of Murdoch University.

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