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JUNE 9: Frauenlibe/Garçonne publishes its first issue (1926)



The post-World War I era in Germany, often called the Wiemar era, was a booming time for Germany’s LGBT community. In the 1920s, there were anywhere from 90 to 100 gay bars and nightclubs in Berlin that thrived in spite of anti-gay laws, as well as whole collections of LGBT specific publications that made the rounds across German cities in spite of censorship laws. The lesbian magazine Frauenliebe was one such publication that celebrated its first issue on June 9, 1926!

Women sit around a table at The Eldorado, a lesbian bar in Berlin that came to prominence in the Wiemar-era (x).

Translate to English, “frauenliebe” means “woman love.” Weeks before the magazine officially became open to the public, the women behind the publication ran advertisements that described the magazine as “Weekly for friendship, love and sexual enlightenment.” It was the second lesbian-specific magazine to originate in Berlin at the time, with Die Freundin having been the first. Although the language we use today was not available to the women behind Frauenliebe, they made it explicit that transgender women were a part of their community and even acknowledged those trans women who had relationships with men.

1930 covers from Die Freundin and Die Intel, popular German magazines for lesbians and gay men respectively. When Frauenliebe hit the scene it joined Die Freundin as the only two lesbian publications in Germany at the time (x). 

The Berlin legal authorities had been searching for a valid reason to shut down Frauenliebe ever since its first issue and they finally succeeding in 1928. Having not been able to shut down the magazine based on its actual contents, the police finally pinpointed the magazine’s advertisements as “facilitating obscene sexual relationships” and shut it down. But not two years later, on October 15, 1930, the magazine was back with a more covert advertising campaign and a new name – Garçonne. In its new form, Garçonne published short stories, poems, news articles about the lesbian scene in Berlin, and allowed lesbians to write opinion pieces responding back to the burgeoning sexology field that was just starting to study homosexuality. Although it was produced and mainly shared around Berlin, like most gay magazines and publications in history, Garçonne eventually found its way to where it was perhaps needed the most – the more rural areas of Germany where there was no such thing as a lesbian subculture. In a 1931 issue, a reader from the small town of Görlitz writes that “this paper means everything to me.” Unfortunately, the magazine ceased publication just a year later in 1932, the same year Hitler was first elected to power.



Reposted fromlordminx lordminx

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