Tuesday, 8 June 2021

It is merely a variation

From Summers in Hollywood blog:

Different From the Others (Anders als die Andern), 1919

Starring Conrad Veidt, Different From the Others is a landmark German film which marks the first time a gay character is portrayed on film that we know of. In 1918 the German Revolution resulted in the formation of the Weimar Republic, and a new Social Democratic government was put into place which eliminated all national censorship for film. A lot of filmmakers in Germany then began tackling subjects which previously had been taboo, with sexual politics being discussed openly like they hadn’t been before.

The film was co-written by sexologist Magnus Hirschfeld, a famous pioneer of gay rights in the Weimar Republic. The film’s original title was Paragraph 175, which referred to the paragraph in the German Criminal Code that outlawed homosexuality. Although the film was quite successful, it led to huge controversy. Its argument that same-sex relationships were as normal and natural as heterosexual relationships was a controversial stance at the time. This film in particular was one of the reasons why censorship was then reinstated by the National Congress of Germany in the summer of 1920. There is only one known copy of the film to have survived, as the Nazis destroyed the majority of the prints after they came into power in 1933.Below are quotes from the film which highlight how progressive its message really was:

“You must not condemn your son because he is a homosexual, he is not to blame for his orientation. It is not wrong, nor should it be a crime. Indeed, it is not even an illness, merely a variation, and one that is common to all of nature.”

Love for one of the same sex is no less pure or noble than for one of the opposite. This orientation can be found in all levels of society, and among respected people. Those that say otherwise come only from ignorance and bigotry

Gay Pride, indeed. It just happens to be 102 years ago...

Different From the Others (Anders als die Andern) on IMDB.


  1. Thank you for the history lesson. I had no idea. I plan on returning to Berlin one day. I love their gay neighborhood and there is so much to learn from its history. When I was there, the orange ogre was in power, here, state side and I could draw parallels between what happened in Germany 1918 - 1933 and what was happening in the US. It chilled me. If we learn nothing from history? We are doomed to repeat it. Kizzes.

    1. As the wise saying goes: "Cherish your freedom, as it could easily be taken away." Jx

  2. How fascinating. I wonder how things would have turned out had censorship not been reinstated (and the Nazi's not coming into power, of course)?

    1. Sally Bowles would have ruled the German Empire! Of course. Jx


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