All QRAB want for christmas
An advent calender/wish list of things that aren't (yet) in the collections of QRAB.
The Archives and Library of the Queer Movement have now been around for a year, and our collections keep growing. The queer history, however, is infinite and most of it will never end up on our shelves. But there are a few gaps we would be happy to fill.
Rare books, forgotten pamphlets, homemade signs, mimeographed papers or old records - all of it can find a home in QRAB, and you're welcome to help!
Every day until christmas we will present something we're missing and would like to receive. Maybe your have some of the gaps at home? Or you can keep an eye out at flee markets and ask your queer friends. And the best gifts are oftentimes the ones you didn't know you wished for, so other contributions to QRAB's collections are also very welcome!
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to leave us something.
ACT UP signs and t-shirt
We start our wish list with a reminder of World AIDS Day and the first (and only) action of ACT UP Stockholm.
AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power - ACT UP - was founded in New York in 1987 to fight for people with AIDS through direct action. Local chapters soon sprung up, mainly in the USA, but also in London, Paris, Dortmund - and Stockholm.
This image shows activists outside the offices of the national AIDS Delegation in Stockholm during an action on October 1st 1991. More on the action can be read (in Swedish) in a couple of articles from that time at www.qx.se.
Now we're wondering if anyone has kept the signs and t-shirts that were used in the action?
"What's the similarity between Lila Perspektiv and Greta Garbo? Both have difficulties coming out." That joke is in one of the issues of Lila Perspktiv (Purple Perspectives), a lesbian feminist magazine that was published - irregularly - in three isues from 1981 to 1984.
Filled with everything from articles on how a handy woman can fix a toilet to cartoons on lesban life, the magazine was an important forum for the Swedish lesbian movement. Seen in this image is the cover of the very first issue, kept at the University Library of Gothenburg.
Do you have an issue at home that you would like to share?
The third sex
Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935) was one of the great pioneers of the stuggle for queer rights - though he used partially different terms.
In 1910 he "invented" the word transvestite, which is still in common use. But few people today speak of uranians, sexual intermediaries or psychosexual hermaphrodites. And if someone mentions a third sex, it's usually in regard to laws concerning non-binary people. In Magnus's days the concept of a third sex was used rather freely for both emancipated women, trans* people and homosexuals.
In QRAB's holdings we have many of Magnus's original German works, but we're lacking this Danish translation from 1928 - Det tredie køn (The third sex). Fortunately it's digitized at www.transvide.dk, but if you want do donate a physical copy - feel free!
Making banners is a difficult form of art - color, materials, message, aerodynamics, everything has to work. But what happens with the banners when the demonstration is over?
In todays picture we show a collage of queer banners from Gay Liberation Week in Stockholm, with "Fight against fascism, racism, sexual oppression" (probably 1982) and "Gay liberation - in the Vättern area too" (1983), to these from Gothenburg: "Dyke - once you try it you can't deny it!" (probably 2005) and "Queerkids - genders are lies" (probably 2005).
Now they might be rolled up in bags in closets somewhere. Wouldn't it be more fun if they - and other banners - were parts of QRAB:s collections?
Is there a passable road?
The physician Ada Nilsson (1872-1964) lived her long life in the midst of the Swedish women's movement, not least through her involvement in the Fogelstad Citizen School for Women.
That she also was called "lad-lass" during her student years, had several lesbian love relations and was both the author Selma Lagerlöf's and soviet ambassador Alexandra Kollontay's gynecologist doesn't make her less interesting.
Today we're sending out a call for a small pamphlet she wrote: Finns det en framkomlig väg? reflexioner med anledning av den homosexuella prostitutionen (Is there a passable road? : reflexions with reference to the homosexual prostitution). Ada wrote the text during the growing moral panic of the Kejne affair and it was published as a supplement to the paper of the Fogelstad association in March 1951.
If anyone wants to donate a copy to QRAB, we will be very happy!
Lotus : a story of love
Those who wish can celebrate Finland’s independence day today, and QRAB calls for what has been called the first Finnish lesbian novel: Lotus : en kärleksberättelse (Lotus : a story of love) from 1973, by Nalle Valtiala.
The book, published in Swedish, tells the story of two women who, with their young son, rents a house in a closeminded small town. Nalle had previously shown himself to be a socially involved writer, for example penning an ”environmental cabaret” in 1969.
The Swedish reviewers seem to have had different expectations of a lesbian novel - one paper claiming that the book certainly touched on important subject, but ”as a contribution to Swedish erotic literature, it is not to be recommended”.
Do you have a copy of the book? In that case, would you consider donating it to QRAB’s library?
On thursday November 17th 1966 ten people met at a restaurant in Stockholm to found FPE-NE (Full Personality Expression - Northern Europe). The organization wanted to bring together transvestites from the Nordic countries, after inspiration from the USA, where one of the founders had traveled to meet Virgina Price, who had started a similar Group in 1961.
The membership magazine of FPE-NE, Feminform, was published in 166 issues from 1966 to 2002. Seen in this picture is the jubilee issue 100 from September 1985, kept at the university library of Gothenburg.
Membership magazines can often give interesting views on both individual persons, broader movements and the general social climate. If anyone would have a run - or single copies - of Feminform to leave to QRAB we would be very happy! Of particular interest are issues 1-94, who don't seem to be kept at any library world wide.
A few words on homosexuality...
If anyone in Gothenburg during the first years of the 20th century felt a little too gay, they could make an appointment with doctor Emanuel af Geijerstam. At his clinic hypnotic treatments were offered for (or rather: against) "abnormal sexual feelings".
Todays item on QRAB's wish list is a pamphlet called Några ord om homosexualitet från psykoanalytisk synpunkt (A few words on homosexuality from a psychoanalytical viewpoint). The text is based on a lecture Emanuel held at Gothenburg's society for physicians on November 10th 1915, and was published in a Swedish medical journal, later to be separately printed as a small pamphlet.
The text is digitized (runeberg.org), but there's something special to also be able to flip through old paper. So if you come across the pamphlet in your bookshelves or at a flee market, please donate it to QRAB!
A woman's lover
When queer literary history is being written, it's often already famous authors that are mentioned: Oscar Wilde, Gertrude Stein, Marcel Proust, Sappho... But there's been a rich undergrowth as well, not least in the not-so-well-thought-of literature. After the second world war, one of Sweden's most prolific writers of gay smut was Nils Hallbeck.
In QRAB's shelves there's already a lot of his titles: Trånga jeans (Tight jeans), Het hud (Hot skin), Lust och längtan (Lust and longing), Älska och dö (Love and die), Grabb på glid (Drifting dude)... But his attempt on lesbian erotica is lacking. The book is called En kvinnas älskarinna (A woman's lover), but we don't really know much else, except for what's stated in the Swedish author lexicon in this picture.
Have you read the book? Then please tell us if it was any good. And if you want to pass it on, pass it to QRAB.
If banners, like we saw in window number 4, can be complicated stff, signs are a bit easier - all you need is a piece of cardboard and a pen. But then what, do they end up in the recycling bin?
In the collage in todays window there's bunch of signs fro the very first Swedish demonstration for gay rights, held in Örebro May 15th 1971. Back then the slogan were for example "Homosex is human", "Gay power" and "Everyone has equal value". On a sign held in Gothenburg in 2016 it says "Does the Pride police help deport LGBTQ refugees?" and in Stockholm Pride the same year one could see "Black trans lives matter".
Have you kept any signs from demonstrations? If you don't think you'll have use for them again, QRAB is happy to take them for future safe keeping!
Birgitta Stenberg called the book in todays picture "the Swedish equivalent to The well of loneliness", Radclyffe Hall's butch classic from 1928. The Swedish book, written by Margareta Suber, is titled in short Charlie, just like it's lesbian main character.
When Charlie was published in 1932 it didn't cause quite the same scandal as Radclyffe's book had in England a few years earlier. The novel recieved positive reviews and sold well. The fact that the copy in this picture, kept at the university library in Gothenburg, has a stamp from the Department of Justice suggests, however, that the authorities might have been a bit sceptical. But there was not any censorship.
In QRAB's holdings we have a copy of the 2005 reedition published by Normal, but the original edition is rare - maybe the copies were read to pieces by eager queers... If it turns up somewhere, please keep QRAB in mind!
Yesterday we asked for Margareta Suber's debut novel Charlie, and we do the same today - but for the English translation. Then the title is Two women, and the printing year 1934.
Two women brings together Margaretas first two novels: Charlie and Ett helsike för en man (A hell for a man), the later being a heterosexual marriage drama with the English title Pauline - making sense of the two women. The translation was made by Paula Wiking, London correspondent for the communist daily newspaper Ny Dag (New Day).
The picture of the front cover seen here comes from a rare book dealer in Connecticut, where the book is sold for $2000. We're not expecting any sympathizer of QRAB to spend that kind of amount on buying the book for us, but that can't be the only copy left. If you find it and want to contribute to the queer common good, we'd be delighted to recieve a donation!
Lesbian St. Lucy's Day
During the first decade of the 21st century the Lesbian Celebration Choir the Tribades brightened Gothenburg (and select parts of the rest of the world) with their singing, where they put lesbian lyrics to traditional Swedish songs and carols.
Some pieces of an appearance at the 25-year jubilee of the Women’s folk high school can be seen and heard at www.youtube.com. LCC the Tribades recorded two albums: Lesbisk Lucia (Lesbian St. Lucy's Day) and Lesbisk sommar (Lesbian summer). But at QRAB we only have the summer album - can you make our collection complete with the St. Lucy's Day record?
Not all queer struggles takes place in the streets, with protests and slogans. Queer struggle can also be to form new thoughts, process trauma and fantasize. Queer struggle can be to have secret words and a space of ones own. That's why we're sending out a call for diaries today.
A person who wrote extensive diaries was Anne Lister, who lived in England between 1791 and 1840. Anne wrote about weather and friends, everyday life and world politics. But large parts of the diaries are written in code, where stories of her many lesbian love relations, notes on how often she masturbated and what tactics she used to seduce married women are hidden. Todays picture shows a page with notes from January 1819, with parts of the text written in the mix of astrological signs, greek letters and mathematical symbols that made up the secret code. The 26 volumes are now kept in an archive in Halifax, who will publish them digitally for public view around the turn of the year. Keep a look out at www.wyjs.org.uk, and please see Gentleman Jack, the TV series on Anne that'll air next year.
Have you written any diaries? It's not always that one wants other people to read them, but it's possible to donate materials to QRAB with restrictions like that they shouldn't be made available for a certain number of years, or only read by scholars and quoted anonymized. Please get in touch if you want that someone in 200 years will be able to share your innermost thoughts!
During the 1920's, the boulevard paper Vidi in Gothenburg was one of Sweden's most virulent antisemitic publications, and it was pretty common with antihomosexual attacs as well. Under the headline "A homosexual source of plague in Partille" one could, for example, read about how the editor of Vidi, together with six henchmen, made a violent raid on a queer party at the house of the Karlsson brothers in Ugglum, just outside Gothenburg.
But the baiting didn't go unanswered: on december 15th 1920 a letter from the signature Artist was published, that pushed for the defence of the homosexuals - and also made the writer's own amorous preferences clear. The paragraph in this picture quotes the writer as claiming that "the truly homosexual man [...] is in intellectual regard far superior to the hetersexual", and that he himself has "a very advantageous appearance and take youths of seventten to twentytwo years by storm". Other defences were repeatedly sent in, so there seems to have been quite a few proponents of homosexual rights in Gothenburg during the 1920's.
Today's picture is taken from the microfilms at Gothenburg's university library - in the shelves of QRAB we only have the volumes from 1924-1931 of this nasty rag. If you want to get rid of other issues, we're interested in receiving them.
There are many ways to preserve history: you can save things that were important, write about what happened, take pictures that show what it looked like. But one of the most fun ways is probably to record - there's something special to be able to see how people moved and hear what they said. So today we're asking for home movies - everything from old video recordings of gay liberation marches to mobile documentation of deportation protests can be interesting.
Or, as this picture alludes to, recorded theater performances. In 2009 the queer feminist theater group LulfRondell produced the play Gender identity assessment : a public theraputic session for traumatized super heroes. The play, featuring a chain saw-wielding cock-cutress and a stormy duet with feminist icons and antagonists Ebba Witt-Brattström and Tiina Rosenberg, was only performed two times - once at Uppsala pride and once at the culture house Underjorden in Gothenburg. We know that someone recorded the show, but we don't know who or where the film might be now.
Are you the one who have kept this cultural treasure? Or do you have other clips that you would like for posterity to see? In that case QRAB is waiting with open arms to receive! And we can also make a shout out to the Swedish Archive for Queer Moving Images, who is also working on preserving and making available queer movies - see more at www.saqmi.se.
Men, who have become women
What's a journalist from Tranås got to do with trans history? Quite a lot! One of the most detailed descriptions of the everyday life of some of the earliest trans persons to undergo affirmative medical treatments was published in Tranås Tidning on October 28 1933.
When Ragnar Ahlstedt as correspondent in Berlin sent articles home to Tranås in the late summer of 1933, they dealt more with tips for tourists than the political situation in newly nazified Germany. But he also came into contact with Charlotte Charlaque and Toni Ebel, who had been living and working at Magnus Hirschfeld's Institute for Sexual Science (see our post on December 3), but now, after the Institute hade been looted by the nazis, shared a small flat. Ragnar's meeting with Charlotte - also called Lola - and Toni resulted in a long article under the headline "Män, som blivit kvinnor : två intressanta fall av könsväxling på operativ väg" ("Men, who have become women : two interesting cases of sex change by way of operation").
But it isn't the operations that are the focus of the text, rather it gives a rich view of their, and their queer friends', lives and thoughts, from growing up to the hardening social climate around them at the time. Not much else is known about Lola's and Toni's lives, so Ragnar's depiction fills an important gap in the early trans history.
Apart from Tranås Tidning, the article was supposedly published in a few other papers, and was also printed as a small pamphlet. This picture is taken from the copy of the pamphlet kept at the Royal library in Stockholm. If you ever find another copy, we would be incredibly grateful if you wish to donate it to QRAB!
It's popular - but risky - to call something "the first" of this or that. Sooner or later something else usually turns up to flip the chronology around and become the new "first". So today it's with some caution that we're putting out a call for "Denmark's first lesbian novel".
Notwithstanding that concepts like "Denmark", "lesbian" and "novel" have historially changeable meanings, there's some merit to giving the honor in question to Otto M. Møller's 1883 book Nina : en psykologisk skildring (Nina : a psychological description). The novel tells the story of a mathematician, Otto Jünger, moving to Heidelberg, where he comes across a woman, Nina von Hohenfels, who at a first glance is described as "at once original and problematic". That is, typically lesbian...
Nina didn't turn out to be a great literary success, and when the author died in 1898, his works soon fell in oblivion, and Nina is now an antiquarian rarity. A German translation - Wer kann dafür? : eine sexual-psychologische Schilderung - was made in 1901, but it too fell into the bookish backwaters and is now only kept in one library in all of Germany. Is there anyone who can enrich QRAB's collections with this pioneering work?
Essays and theses
When RFSL in Stockholm moved offices a year ago, QRAB received a lot of books from their library, that they couldn't house anymore. In the donation there were also hundreds of essays and theses, that are at least as interesting as the books.
Essays and theses can be worth reading for many reasons: some deal with subjects one wishes to learn more about, but they can also be seen as enthralling documents of time. Even though not everybody has unproblematic access to education, more people, with varying bakgrounds and experiences, have written essays and theses compared to those who have written books. This kind of texts can consequently give us a wider range of voices and perspectives than those who are heard in the literature and science that is accorded a higher status.
The essays and theses from RFSL range in time from 1960-2010, and in educational contexts from secondary school to master theses, with subjects like "Gay art galleries on the internet" and "Studies of the organized homosexual subculture in Borås". But the collection is certainly far from complete. Have you written an essay or a thesis with a LGBTQIA-theme? Then let it join company with the ones in this picture!
Today we're opening two calender-windows in one, or rather find two small pamphlets behind one window. The author of both of them is Gunnar Nycander (1900-1964), physician, general secretary of the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education and one of those who in the 1930's and 1940's argued for decriminalization of homosexuality in Sweden.
That Gunnar wanted to abolish the punishments for homosexual acts didn't mean he liked homosexuals particularly well, which can be glimpsed in the somewhat discouraging title of the first pamphlet: Homosexualitetens samhällsfarliga yttringar : vilka är de och vilka åtgärder bör samhället vidtaga? (The socially dangerous manifestations of homosexuality : what are they and what measures should society take?, published in Svenska läkartidningen 1942:10). Gunnar's theory was that homosexuality was caused by a psychic blockage of development, but that it was misguided to punish the individuals "affected". Instead he wanted to combat the strict sexual moral that he argued caused the homosexual neuroses.
The other pamphlet is called, in short, Homosexualitet (Homosexuality) and consists of a lecture Gunnar held on the radio in 1951. The text was published in the Swedish broadcasting service's journal Hörde ni? (Did you hear?) 1951:4, and was also printed as a pamphlet. I don't know exactly what he said there, but if there's anyone who has the pamphlet, or the issue of the journal, and wish to donate to QRAB it would be interesting to read!
The earliest Swedish publications intended specifically for a queer audience were generally either member journals, like RFSL's Följeslagaren (The companion), or pornographic, often aimed at a gay male customer base. While the publications associated with organizations overall have been preserved rather well, fewer people have been concerned with the long time preservation of erotica.
For example we know of only a single surviving copy of the magazine Ameur. It was published by Lenn Production, a company based in Gothenburg who also ran a porn store in the Olskroken district. On this image one can see the cover for the first (and only) issue, printed in the spring of 1970. As the stamp indicates, this copy is kept at RFSL's federal archive in Stockholm - and apart from a few ads in the contemporary press that is the only trace the magazine seems to have left in history. Unless one of you know of another copy? In that case, QRAB would like to be first in line to take care of it!
Lilith - cultural magazine for women
Mythical beings aren't QRAB's primary area of expertise, but still there's something about the winter solstice and the full moon that makes us think of Lilith. Well, that is the lesbian feminist magazine from the 1970's.
In some jewish traditions Lilith was the first woman, created at the same time as - and equal to - Adam. When Adam demanded her subservience she refused, left him and came to be associated with dangerous femininity and nocturnal darkness. It's not surprising that the figure has attracted both feminists and occultist (and feminist occultists!), who in her have seen a rebellious role model. When then a bunch of culturally interested lesbians in 1975 thought about a name for their magazine thay settled on Lilith.
The magazine was published in just one issue (but a double issue at that), then financial difficulted helted further production. If you want to read Lilith you can visit the university library of Gothenburg, where the copy in this picture is kept, the Royal library in Stockholm or the university library of Lund. But wouldn't it be nice to also be able to visit QRAB to get a whiff of lesbian mythology? Donations are encouraged!
Previously we have put out calls for banners and signs (windows 4 and 10), and today we're tying up the demonstration theme by welcoming all kinds of flyers to QRAB's collections.
In the context of demonstrations flyers usually contain suggestions of slogans to chant or brief summaries of the questions and demands being posed. But flyers can also be advertisments for clubs, events - or demonstrations. Regardless, they oftentimes have a brief life span: if they don't end up in a trash bin right away they might be put in a pocket or bag where they soon become wrinkled and frayed. If they survive, however, they can be valuable documents for giving a broad insight into the history of movements. What did they want to achieve? How were political problems posed? What esthetic expressions did they use?
So the next time you receive (or make) a queer flyer, make sure to take care of it, write the date on it and come by QRAB to leave it to future activists to be inspired by!
Christmas among friends
Classical christmas traditions often focus on normative family relations, somenthing that doesn't always work smoothly for queers - or even for the normative families themselves. If you're at all interested in celebrating christmas, it might feel more tempting to do it among friends, which brings us to the last window of QRAB's advent calendar.
The magazine Vennen (The friend) was published in Copenhagen from 1949 to 1970. Particularly during it's early years it functioned as a common forum for the Nordic gay organizations. In the 1960's it oriented more towards commercial light-mindedness and lightly dressed models. In the years 1962-1967 a series of christmas specials were produced, called Jul blandt venner (Christmas among friends). They contained longer novels and atmospheric poetry alongside the model pictures. The copy in today's picture has travelled all the way to Texas A&M University. In our own collections we have the issues from the last two years - so if you want to give QRAB a christmas present, we're wishing for Jul blandt venner from 1962-1965!