Transvestite pass

A transvestite pass (German: Transvestitenschein) was a doctor's note recognized by the governments of Imperial Germany and the Weimar Republic – under the support of sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld – identifying a person as a transvestite. Transvestite at this time referred to all individuals whose gender identity or preferred clothing was discordant to that associated with their assigned sex, and so included both crossdressing and transgender people.[3]

Facsimile of a transvestite certificate issued in 1928 in Berlin to "Eva Katter" (1910–1995), who later went by the gender-neutral "Gert".[1][2]
Herbert W. (left) was a transgender friend of Magnus Hirschfeld, and lived for two years in Berlin under his chosen name. This photo is from Hirschfeld's Sexual Intermediates (1922).

In either 1908 or 1909, the first known pass was issued to a female-to-male transvestite. This was achieved with the expert opinion of Hirschfeld as well as Karl Abraham.[4] From then up until 1933, "perhaps dozens" of such passes were granted by the German police.[5][4] Mainly given to middle-class, heterosexual, male-to-female transvestites to avoid associations with gay and lesbian culture in Weimar Germany, the certificate said that the individual in question was allowed to wear clothing which corresponded to their gender identity.[3]

In 1922, guidance issued by the police headquarters of Berlin with respect to this policy stated:

Apart from male prostitution, transvestism in general has no criminal significance. The widespread public opinion that the disguised individuals are generally criminals in disguise (pickpockets, spies, pimps, etc.) is obsolete. With regard to the male transvestites, recent experience shows that even the formerly taken-for-granted view that men in women's clothing are all homosexuals is no longer tenable. [...] On the basis of this insight emerges a duty of gentle treatment [schonenden Behandlung] of transvestites, as long as they are not engaged in male prostitution.[4]

However, the use of these transvestite certificates did not end when the Nazis came to power in 1933 and the Institute for Sexual Science was destroyed on May 6, 1933.[citation needed]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Jander, Thomas (23 July 2019). "What's that for? A Licence to Be (Different) – Deutsches Historisches Museum: Blog". Retrieved 5 February 2021.
  2. ^ Taylor, Michael T.; Timm, Annette; Herrn, Rainer (30 October 2017). Not Straight from Germany: Sexual Publics and Sexual Citizenship Since Magnus Hirschfeld. University of Michigan Press. p. 44. ISBN 978-0-472-13035-1. Retrieved 5 February 2021.
  3. ^ a b Gershon, Livia (18 November 2018). "Gender Identity in Weimar Germany". JSTOR Daily. Retrieved 19 July 2019.
  4. ^ a b c Sutton, Katie (2012). ""We Too Deserve a Place in the Sun": The Politics of Transvestite Identity in Weimar Germany". German Studies Review. 35 (2): 335–354. ISSN 0149-7952. JSTOR 23269669.
  5. ^ Frost, Natasha (2 November 2017). "The Early 20th-Century ID Cards That Kept Trans People Safe From Harassment". Atlas Obscura. Retrieved 19 July 2019.

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