Gay in the GDR? The Gay Berliner investigates ahead of "Coming Out" screening

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Gramps settin' the record straight

Young man!
Very nice article. So cool you are making a record of this stuff before no-one remembers it anymore.

But now the scolding:
1. You write, "wild scene with, of all places, Prenzlauer Berg at its centre." Yet we all know that Prenzlauer Berg was the hub of the GDR artist's and squatter's scene for decades. It was an exciting place and remained that way through the 1990s, with a hoppin' LGBTIQ* scene.
2. The East was not "prudish". People were very frank about their sexual desires, in addition to being quite comfortable with all kinds of nudity be it little children stripping down and splashing in a city fountain or entire families wandering the dunes of the Baltic in the buff. The GDR was extremely heteronormative with getting an apartment etc. depending on being married and having kids for example - but not "prudish".
3. It sounds from the way you quote Fux as if the chances of HIV infection in the GDR were lower because there were fewer clubs and saunas - though i suspect that may not be what he meant. As we all know, it was not the existence of such queer safe spaces that "caused" the infection's rapid spread but the utter official inaction, quite frankly criminal negligence, in the matter. What kept the numbers low in East Germany was the lack of mobility (the wall and all that!). But it is clear that it would only have been a matter of time before the cases of infection in the GDR that did exist before 1990, about which the GDR government was as complacent as the Reagan administration, would have become a similar problem to what we saw and still see in the rest of the world.
4. There is nothing ironic about the role of churches, not "the church" mind you, in LGBTIQ* activism and other activism in the GDR. Though largely ignored by official Western historiographies, there were always critical movements in East Germany, and especially in their heyday in the 1980s they found a home in (Lutheran) churches in the GDR, centering roughly around the topics of peace and the environment at the time.

But you knew all that, didn't you?

Keep up the good work!

Luv,

Gramps

Babewyn 112 days ago

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