Magnus-Hirschfeld-Gesellschaft e.V. Forschungsstelle zur Geschichte der Sexualwissenschaft

Science Friday Podcast: Born This Gay


At the turn of the 20th century, a German doctor sets out to prove that homosexuality is rooted in biology – but his research has consequences he never intended.

Written by Lauren Young, published on May 23, 2017

In pre-Nazi Germany, a doctor named Magnus Hirschfeld sets out to take down Paragraph 175, a law against “unnatural fornication” between men. Hirschfeld’s plan is to scientifically prove that homosexuality is natural, and that lesbians and gay men might be born gay – but his idea ends up falling into the wrong hands.

Links to further reading on the podcast website.


Robert Beachy is the author of Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity.

Ralf Dose is the co-founder of the Magnus Hirschfeld Society and author of Magnus Hirschfeld: The Origins of the Gay Liberation Movement.

Edward Stein is the author of the The Mismeasure of Desire: The Science, Theory, and Ethics of Sexual Orientation.

Radio show distributed in the U.S. by Public Radio International, which you can catch on public radio stations across the U.S.

Earlier Publications by researchers of the Magnus Hirschfeld Gesellschaft below (mostly in German)