Digital Transgender Archive

Die Transvestiten: Sexology and Pivotal Moments in Trans History

Title Page of second edition of Die Transvestiten (1912)When Magnus Hirschfeld published Die Transvestiten, he was doing groundbreaking work. Moving away from the methods of other sexological research at the time that lumped all types of sexual and gender diversity into more all-encompassing groupings, Dr. Hirschfeld theorized a distinction between sexual desires and gender expressions. With this distinction came a whole new category of interpreting and understanding gender non-conformity–the “transvestite.” And with a new identity marker came new opportunities for community building, more social awareness, and even a more scientific and less stigmatizing way of encountering gender difference.

Here at the Digital Transgender Archive, we are incredibly excited to be posting the first and second editions of this seminal text in their original German forms! Preserving and making accessible Hirschfeld’s work is especially important since much of his research archives were destroyed when Nazi’s ransacked the Institute of Sexual Science and burned most of the library. A revolutionary and early defender of sexual and gender variance, Hirschfeld has an important legacy as an academic and social activist.