Famous GLBT & GLBTI People

Karl Heinrich Ulrichs

Born 28th. August, 1825 in Aurich, Hanover, Died 14th. July, 1895 in Aquila, Italy.

He studied law at the universities of Göttingen and Berlin (1844-47) and became a junior attorney in the civil service of the Kingdom of Hanover. In 1854 he left state service to become a free-lance journalist and private secretary of a representative to the German Confederation in Frankfurt am Main.

In Frankfurt he used embryology to develop a theory of homosexuality that he presented in a series of five booklets (1864-65) titled Forschungen über das Rätsel der mannmännlichen Liebe (Researches Into the Riddle of Love Between Men). This he later extended to twelve booklets with the last appearing in 1879.

He assumed that love directed towards a man must be feminine and used the Latin phrase anima muliebris virili corpore inclusa (a female soul trapped in a male body), and he coined the term 'Urning' (Uranian) for such a person. This was a reference to Plato's Symposium in which Pausanias postulates two gods of love, the Uranian (Heavenly) Eros who governs principled male love, whereas the Pandernian (Vulgar) Eros governs heterosexual or purely licentious relations. Károly Mária

Kertbeny later invented alternative words such as Homosexualität.

Ulrichs regarded homosexuals as neither criminal nor sick and tried to organize them for their own welfare. In 1864 he was planning to publish a homosexual periodical and in 1870 he started it but it only lasted for one issue through lack of support.

On 28th. August 1867 he became the first self-proclaimed homosexual to speak out publicly for homosexual rights when he pleaded at the Congress of German Jurists in Munich for a resolution urging the repeal of all anti-homosexual laws. He was shouted down.

Károly Mária Kertbeny - Born 1824 in Vienna, died 1882 in Budapest . He had the surname Benkert up to 1847 after which he was allowed to use the Hungarian noble name of his family. He wrote a private letter to Karl Heinrich Ulrichs on 6th. May, 1868 including the first use of the words homosexual and heterosexual which later he used in his pamphlets.

From 1869 to 1875 he lived in Berlin and in 1869 he wrote two pamphlets which were published anonymously. These demanded freedom from penal sanctions for homosexual men in Prussia and the Prussian-dominated North German Confederation. Ulrichs had previously used the German words for Uranian in his writings, but Kertbeny replaced them as follows. Ulrichs | Kertbeny...Urningthum | Homosexualität...Urninge | Homosexualisten... Urninden | Homosexualistinnen (lesbians) Kertbeny claimed himself to be a Normalsexualer. Kertbeny's thesis emphasised that the State should have no part to play in the policing of private sexual behaviour.

Bibliography o Manfred Herzer, (1985), Kertbeny and the Nameless Love , Journal of Homosexuality, vol. 12, pages 1-25.

Vol. I Issue 14 October 16, 2000

by Paul Nash and Michael Lombardi-Nash

Several major events highlighted the recent celebration of the 175th birthday anniversary of Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, the first known Gay activist.

In Munich, Germany, a huge gathering assembled on Karl-Heinrich-Ulrichs-Platz for a birthday bash hosted by Wolfram Setz of the Munich Ulrichs Committee.

Harald Hasel, the actor who played the role of Ulrichs in Rosa von Praunheim's 1997 German movie "Schwuler Mut" (Gay Courage), reprised the role at the party. Trumpets sounded in the distance, and "Ulrichs" was called to the stage, where he sat on a chair of honor. Trumpets sounded again and two tall soldiers flanked "Ulrichs," this time to protect him, not arrest him!

Next came representatives from German cities. An official from the city of Hanover asked "Ulrichs" for forgiveness. Ulrichs had been forced to leave his job with the city of Hanover for being Gay. Representatives from Göttingen told "Ulrichs" that as a present, they had had a plaque affixed to a house in Göttingen in which Ulrichs once lived. Individuals from several other German cities read birthday greetings from Gay and Lesbian groups.

Trumpets sounded again, and an international contingent was summoned. Representatives from Austria told "Ulrichs" of the problems they were having with discriminatory age of consent laws and said that perhaps by Ulrichs' 200th birthday anniversary Gays in that country might have equality. A representative from Jacksonville, Florida, brought greetings on behalf of all Americans.

The celebration ended with the trumpets playing "Happy Birthday" and everyone singing along. Then glasses of champagne were passed around.

Other events in Munich included a birthday exposition at SUB, the Gay center; a special speech at the Café Regenbogen, titled "Ulrichs and America," by Mike Lombardi-Nash, translator of Ulrichs' books into English; a tour of the old Grand Hall of the Odeon Theater where Ulrichs gave his famous speech in 1867 that for the first time in history demanded Gay and Lesbian rights; and a reading of Ulrichs' writings by famous German Gay author, AIDS activist, and lawyer Bernd Aretz at the Max & Milian Bookstore.

The major celebration of Ulrichs' 175th jubilee birthday occurred when a large group from around the world gathered on Ulrichs' birthday, Monday, August 28, at his gravesite in L'Aquila, Italy.

Max Consoli, who has been holding a ceremony at Ulrichs' grave every year since 1988, said this year's gathering "topped all previous celebrations."

There were representatives from Germany (Göttingen, Munich, Berlin), Austria (Graz), the United States (Jacksonville, Florida), and Italy (Rome, L'Aquila, Bologna, and Bari).

When Ulrichs was buried in 1895, Niccolò Persichetti predicted in his eulogy that future generations would cover the great man's grave with flowers. In his jubilee year, for the first time in 105 years Ulrichs' grave was covered with flowers, and publications issued in his honor were also placed on his grave. Earth from Jacksonville, Florida, the old Odeon Theater, and from Ulrichs-Platz was sprinkled around the grave.

The group also took a few moments to remember famous Gays who also are not buried in their homeland, including John Addington Symonds (an Englishman buried in Italy), who had visited Ulrichs in 1891, and Magnus Hirschfeld (a German buried in France), who had visited Ulrichs' grave in 1909.

The L'Aquila jubilee ceremony likewise ended with the singing of "Happy Birthday" and a champagne toast. Many of the celebrants took part in an informal luncheon following the birthday party celebration.

The event is scheduled to be repeated on Tuesday, August 28, 2001, in L'Aquila. It is open to all Gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, transpersons, their family and friends.

A Web site with all the information concerning the 2001 celebration and a personal invitation to this growing annual event can be seen at Celebration 2001 (http://www.angelfire.com/fl3/celebration2000).

A picture webpage of all the jubilee events, titled Memory Book 2000: A Festschrift Commemorating the 175th Birthday Anniversary of Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, is now on-line

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