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TG History — TG Legends: NAZIS!

| Feb 16, 2009
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Michelle Moore brings you TG History

“A discovery has lately been made on this continent that will astonish the whole world. Our great and excellent General Washington is actually discovered to be of the female sex.” – London Daily Advertiser, January 25, 1783


“Later on Janice Raymond says breathlessly, ‘We know that at least one transsexual operation was done in the camps. …Some transsexual research and technology may well have been initiated and developed in the camps and that, in the past, as well as now, surgery was not performed for the present professed goal of therapy, but to accumulate medical knowledge.”  There is slim evidence indeed for the “one transsexual operation” that was allegedly done in the camps-a second-hand story by Joseph Wechsberg, who attributed it to Simon Wiesenthal, who allegedly met a teenage boy who had been turned into a woman and then back into a man. This is a dubious anecdote given the failure of current medical technology to create a fully functioning penis. But Raymond is not deterred by lack of firm evidence, perhaps because she knows that once you accuse someone of being affiliated with Nazis, you’ve flung mud that can never be washed out. Concentration camp inmates were interred involuntarily. What sort of person volunteers to become the subject of something like a Nazi medical experiment? -Patrick Califia, Sex Changes — the Politics of Transgenderism

Well said, Patrick. Hopefully no one needs further explanation of the lunacy of Janice Raymond’s claims “there’s no operation on planet Earth that can switch anyone’s sex back and forth 0- it isn’t possible now and it wasn’t possible in the 1940’s.”

Anyway, there’s also another post-war rumor of Nazi sex changes, this one attributed to Dr. Josef Mengele, Auschwitz’s “Angel of Death”. Certainly Mengele committed more than his share of atrocities, most notoriously on twins. He removed sex organs from live victims and several twins were castrated or sterilized. But there’s no evidence either from camp records or survivors of any gender reassignment surgeries: vaginoplasty, phalloplasty, or metoidioplasty.

As Califia points out it’s easy to vilify something by associating it with Nazism. But it’s important to remember that any medical procedure is inherently evil if it’s performed against your will. Nazi medical atrocities included procedures for the mass sterilization and castration of Jews, the Sinti and Roma (Gypsies), homosexuals, and other groups Nazi leaders considered racially or genetically undesirable. The Nazis weren’t conducting sex changes, they were castrating and mutilating people they considered inferior to keep them from breeding. From a medical standpoint castrations aren’t sex change operations and from a human standpoint a patient wants a sex change operation while a person castrated against his will is just being tortured.

Attributing Gender Reassignment Surgery to the Nazis of all people is one of those rumors that flies directly into the teeth of the facts. While there was great interest in sterilizing “inferior races” Aryan Doctrine venomously opposed both homosexuality and sex change surgery on the grounds it reduced the moral fiber and reproductive strength of the Aryan Race. In 1931 the Institute of Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld arranged the first modern sex change operation in Berlin. Yet by 1933 pro-Nazis students had plundered and closed his Institute and Dr. Hirschfeld’s extensive library — including books on sex change cases and procedures — was publicly burned. For the Nazis to have suddenly reversed themselves and embraced the principles of this homosexual Jewish doctor defies all logic. In the end, their “Final Solution” for transsexuals was the same one they exercised on other inferiors — mass extermination.

Sex Changes: The Politics of Transgenderism, Patrick (nee Pat) Califia
Human Sexuality: An Encyclopedia, edited by Vern and Bonnie Bullough
Explaining Hitler, Ron Rosenbaum
Holocaust Chronicles: Individualizing The Holocaust Through Diaries And Other Contemporaneous Personal Accounts, Robert Moses Shapiro
The Pink Triangle: The Nazi War against Homosexuals, Richard Plant
The author grateful acknowledges the invaluable assistance of the Holocaust Learning Center, United States Holocaust Museum, Washington DC.

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Category: Transgender History


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