The Forgotten History of the World’s First Trans Clinic

The Institute for Sexual Research in Berlin would be a century old if it hadn’t fallen victim to Nazi ideology

Magnus Hirschfeld, right, and his protege and partner Li Shiu Tong, left, at the Fourth Congress of the World League for Sexual Reform, 1932. Credit: Wesscome Images Wikimedia (CC BY 4.0)

The Forgotten History of the World’s First Trans Clinic

The first gender affirmation surgeries took place in 1920s, at a facility which employed transgender technicians and nurses, and which was headed by a gay Jewish man. The forgotten history of the institute, and its fall to Nazis bent on the euthanasia of homosexuals and transgender people, offers us both hope—and a cautionary tale—in the face of oppressive anti-trans legislation in the United States.

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