Today is Trans Day of Remembrance, so I want to write a little post about something I learned about last year and I haven't stopped being angry since. Don't go into this thinking this is something like u/LittleStarlight's historical features, this is just an angry rant.
It is common knowledge that the nazis were cruel, murderous bastards who targeted every marginalised group there is, basically, and you may already know that for a lot of those groups, including queer people, the cruelty did not stop at all with the end of the war. The people imprisoned, or put in concentration camps, for homosexuality were, after the allies freed the people in the camps, quickly put back into prison for the same charges, often enough by the same judges, who got to keep their jobs. Germany continued persecuting homosexual people for decades. In West Germany the Nazis' anti gay law was kept until 1994 and only weakened in 1969 (East Germany abolished it in 1968). It took until 2002 for the state to overturn convictions made during the nazi period and it took until 2017 for Germany to apologise and overturn convictions for cis gay men that were charged with homosexuality after WW2.
But that's homosexual cis men. Other queer people have not seen that same kind of attention. It was only this year that the german parliament recognised other queer victims of the nazis. But I'm not here to tell you I'm angry at the government, that's always a given. Even if you didn't know anything about the situation, you probably didn't expect it to be better, it's the fucking government after all. I'm angry at archivists, historians and ignorant activists (who didn't bother to look closer at the findings of those bigoted historians and archivists), who have in my opinion been complicit in the nazis' erasure of trans people.
Trans people were persecuted, tortured and murdered by the nazi regime. It is fucking sad that to this day that's something people can "debate" on twitter. Trans women were put into the camps as homosexual men, trans men (like cis lesbians who were similarly erased) most often as "Asoziale" (antisocials) or other things they came up with (when the nazis wanted you dead, they found something to kill you for). The historians looking through the extensive documentation, that the nazis made of their crimes, just believed them (wtf?!).
Sure, this person dressed as a woman every day, used a female name and pronouns, was seen as a woman by her community and her partners, was imprisoned several times for presenting as a woman, refused to stop presenting as a woman even if it meant her death, but the nazis accused her of being a homosexual man trying to trick the poor heteros into accidentally fucking a dude and put her into the death camp as a homosexual man. So as historians we ought to remember her as a person she never was, under a name she didn't use. Just another gay man.
This is the continued victimisation of trans people that were murdered by the nazis. Deadnamed and misgendered for ~80 years (and ongoing) after they've been murdered.
You might know about the so called "Stolpersteine" (stumbling stones), if you don't, it's basically a gigantic memorial throughout the whole of Germany that has been initiated in 1992. Victims of the nazi murder machine get a little bronze plate on a concrete block laid into the ground, that has their name and some of their life dates, outside of their last place of residence. Actually a pretty cool concept, I think. For a such a stone to be placed, the artist responsible relies on local groups to research and get permission from the city. Those groups then tell the artist what should be written on that plate.
This year, this fucking year, after 31 years and ~100 thousand Stolpersteine that have been laid in those years, this year the very first Stolperstein that doesn't deadname the trans person on it has been laid for Käte Rogalli. There continue to be Stolpersteine and memorial webpages that misgender and deadname trans victims of the nazis, such as Liddy Bacroff, who on her Stolperstein has her deadname in big fat letters and her real name only in smaller font and in quotes below that, not to mention state archives that still keep their files under their deadnames.
It is so fucking sad and anger inducing.
Nowadays we have cool people that try to fix this somewhat, like the activists responsible for Käte Rogalli's Stolperstein, Julia Steenken who works for the DGTI, the historian Dana Mahr, and the historian Bodie Ashton who gave several great talks/interviews about the life and death of Liddy Bacroff, and together with the party die Linke petitioned the government to recognise all queer victims of the nazis. But despite these people's best efforts, we'll never be able to memorialise all trans victims of the nazis as who they really were. Their existence has been erased (in part by the nazis, but also in part by the historians that came after them) and is to this day brought into question by fascist assholes who want to finish what the nazis started, using the same fucking arguments too.
I wish this post could instead be filled by some information about individual trans people that were murdered by the nazis, so that we can do some remembering on the day of remembrance, but well... I put two videos on the bottom of this post that are more about remembering.
I'm going to put a few sources here, most of them are going to be german though.
The ones I recommend you to look at:
The parallel lives of Liddy Bacroff: Transgender history and the tyranny of the archive https://youtu.be/G-7hHzmCAjg
Transgender experiences in Weimar and Nazi Germany https://youtu.be/ueuKM6Wqoc0