This is a COVID-19 project and labor of love by Erica Kastner. This site does not sell any data or profit in any way. All content on this site is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International license. You are free to share or adapt content as long as you attribute Erica Kastner as the author.
There are several flashback scenes in the TV show Transparent that depict transgender people living openly in interwar Germany. I was amazed there could have been fully out trans people so long ago and in a place and time I thought was extremely conservative. After some research, I became fascinated about this period in LGBT history. The most interesting part for me, as a transgender individual, was how far ahead of their time some people like Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld were in their understanding of trans identity. What made it more interesting was the fact that Hirschfeld’s works were among the first items burned in the infamous Nazi book burning rallies. It reminds us that backlashes against queer and trans people have reoccurred for generations.
The progress made at that time was largely erased and really only re-examined from a transgender perspective in the past couple of decades. The Third Sex, a magazine full of stories by trans individuals, was finally rediscovered and reprinted in 2016. I felt very passionate about making these stories visible to show that we as trans individuals have always been here and we will not let hate and ignorance silence us. Additionally, I could relate in a very small way to the people of that time who were living on the edge of the descent into fascism. While the US Trump administration did not prove to be as devious or capable as the NSDAP, the same themes are present. This site provided me a way to create something unique and beautiful by putting my minor degree in German to use while processing that political fear. Plus, I had a lot of time on my hands due to self-quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This site is dedicated to those who were finally able to live as their true selves, to whatever degree was possible, on the edge of the most tumultuous, violent, and oppressive time in history. May those who were killed and persecuted for their queerness rest in power.