June has become the season of rainbow-themed everything. Many queer activists lament that Pride has been co-opted by corporate interests, but Pride Month can also be a time to reflect on the history and trajectory of LGBTQIA+ lives, politics, and movements.
For today’s show, guest host Karma Chávez spends the hour with historian Laurie Marhoefer discussing their new book, Racism and the Making of Gay Rights, which tells the story of Magnus Hirschfeld and his assistant Li Shiu Tong, their role in the new field of sexology in the early twentieth century, and how Hirschfeld was influenced by sexist, racist, and eugenic ideas while laying the groundwork for modern gay rights.
Laurie Marhoefer is Jon Bridgman Endowed Professor of History at the University of Washington, where they research queer and trans politics with a specialty in modern German history. They are the author of Sex and the Weimar Republic: German Homosexual Emancipation and the Rise of the Nazis (University of Toronto Press, 2015) and Racism and the Making of Gay Rights: A Sexologist, His Student, and the Empire of Queer Love (University of Toronto Press, 2022).