Born in 1868 in Prussia, Magnus Hirschfeld began a career in medicine with an emphasis on human sexuality. He believed sexual orientation was naturally occurring, and that laws against homosexuality should be changed for the betterment of society.
Hirschfeld founded the world's first organization to end the social and legal intolerance of homosexuals, called the Scientific Humanitarian Committee. He is also credited with amassing a huge number of books, papers, pamphlets and manuscripts on the subject. He worked to repeal Germany's anti-gay law, Paragraph 175.
In 1933, Hirschfeld was forced into exile when the Nazis came into power, raided the Hirschfeld Institute, and burned the priceless contents of the library.
Regardless, Hirschfeld had effectively defined gay activism, for the many that would take up the cause through the course of history.
This Rainbow Minute was read by Tom Miller.
“The Rainbow Minute” is produced by Judd Proctor and Brian Burns and can be heard every weekday at 7:59am, 12:29pm and 2:59pm on WRIR – 97.3fm in Richmond, Virginia, and webcast at wrir.org. It’s also heard internationally on over 200 stations.