Der Eigene

Posted on October 1, 2010

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The first gay periodical, Der Eigene was published by Adolf Brand in Berlin from 1896 to 1931. The name – “the self-owner” – probably had a circulation of at most 1,500 readers. It started out as an anarchic publication in favor of a very strong individualism, but evolved into a “journal for male culture, art and literature.” Brand, as many other homosexual rights advocates of this time, was an advocate of love between men and youths, and the magazine was full of poems, short stories and essays with a focus on this Männer- und Jünglingsliebe idea, as well as illustrations and the photos of Baron Von Gloeden. Der Eigene hasn’t aged well, but it remains an interesting cultural relic. Especially considering that Brand was able to keep publishing it over such a long period – at one point he was arrested and sentenced to two months in prison for publishing the magazine, but mostly he managed by being discrete, with the magazine going out to members of Brand’s Gemeinschaft der Eigenen, who had signed agreements that they understood that the magazine’s content was controversial. Interestingly, Brand was not a fan of sexologist and fellow homosexual rights activist Magnus Hirschfeld.

Der Eigene has a wikipedia page here. Translated excerpts can be found in Homosexuality and Male Bonding in Pre-Nazi Germany at Google books here.

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