FROM: The Office of Multicultural Affairs and Diversity Education
RE: Celebrate LGBT History Month- October 1 - 31- Let Your Pride Shine!- Karl Heinrich Ulrichs- The Father of Gay Rights
Sent: 10/2/2019 8:35:36 AM
To: Students



Karl Heinrich Ulrichs

“Until my dying day I will look back with pride that I found the courage to come face to face in battle against the specter which for time immemorial has been injecting poison into me and into men of my nature. Many have been driven to suicide because all their happiness in life was tainted.

Born in 1825 in Germany, Karl went on to become a staunch supporter for gay rights. He was a lawyer, author and journalist. In 1862, he began writing under a pseudonym, defending the love between men as natural and arguing that such relationships possessed a biological basis. His essays established scientific categories and terms to denote different types of desires: men who loved men were urnings, men who loved women were dionings. There were also terms for bisexual and heterosexual women people. Ulrichs saw sexuality as defined by three axes: sexual orientation, preferred sexual behavior, and gender characteristics. Above all, he defended the idea that there was nothing wrong with desiring a person of one’s own gender. By 1867, he was writing under his own name, advancing his theory that people were born with their sexuality already set and that it was completely natural. As such, he argued that queer sexuality should not be legislated against or treated as a disease or mental disorder.  1867 found him on the stage of the Grand Hall of Munich’s Odeon Theater. He had come to the Congress of German Jurists (Ulrichs had worked as a lawyer until being dismissed when his sexuality became known) to publicly protest anti-sodomy laws and continue his push for recognition and acceptance of queer identities. Karl Heinrich Ulrichs’ language and ideas were largely forgotten until recently, overshadowed by other theorists and activists who followed in his footsteps. In more recent years, Ulrichs’ memory has been resurrected, and he is honored with streets named after him in a number of countries. The International Lesbian and Gay Law Association presents an award bearing his name to individuals who have contributed to the advancement of sexual equality. ~B. Toth

To learn more about Karl Heinrich Ulrichs, visit: