The homosexual group Gesellschaft für Reform des Sexualrechts (Association for the Reform of Sexual Laws) and the 1950ies Berlin
Wir über uns
During their efforts to influence the general public in a "wissenschaftlich-humanitär" (scientific-humanitarian) manner, for the abolition of the special laws against Gay people, a parallel revival was taking place within the community. The social life of the group resulted in a new freedom for protection, exchange of views, and self confidence which had been difficult due to their devastating isolation, resulting from their lack of organizations and the frightening period of Nazi persecution.
The renaming of the WhK as the GfRdS corresponded to the programmatic expansion of the committee's work similar to Hirschfeld's ideas for the establishment of Gay social life. It resumed the heritage of Adolf Brand (1874-1945) and his Gemeinschaft der Eigenen (Community of Ourselves) as well as the tradition of the Friendship Leagues and the uniting of these organizations by the activities of Friedrich Radszuweit (1876-1932) all with their origins in the Weimar Republic (1919-1933). Many members of the GfRdS had personally known Hirschfeld, Brand and Radszuweit.
At the monthly meetings there were mostly lectures for the association members and their guests, there were about 30 to 100 people in attendance. The themes covered the spectrum from actual reformefforts and the activities of the Gay movement, questions about laws, the pursuit and practice of law, they reacquainted them with the Gay heritage in art and literature, and pointed out the biographies and life work of "famous Gay people".
After the society had gotten the needed reforms for the GfRdS out of the way, they went on the offensive. In the discussion of the abolition of other criminal offenses towards Gays with the initiative from Werner Becker they started to work for the decriminalization of intergenerational sexual contact and set out in the direction of the removal of Paragraph 175 from the penal code and to change the age limits in Paragraph 175 (from 21 to 16 years).
The GfRdS under the direction of businessman Hans Borgward and lawyer Werner Hesse, began to promote the development of the Gay movement. Many members wrote in the Gay newspapers and supported contacts with other associations both at home and abroad. By 1951 the GfRdS had representation in the International Committee for Sexual Equality (ICSE). 1954 saw cooperative membership with the Gesellschaft für Menschenrecht (Society for Human Rights), a temporary association of West German Gay groups.
The association survived the government repression of 1953 and the realignment of most of the newspapers and during 1956 through the tendency of groups to disband. It was not possible for the registered society of the GfRdS to proceed with their needed reform efforts and democratization, but because of their internal cohesion the social life of the group continued, through all of this there remained about 50 members.
Resignations came after the scandalous decision, by the Constitutional Court in 1957 that the continued existence of the NS-special criminal laws against Gays, was legitimate. This framework strengthened police pursuit and also threatened the GfRdS with a raid in 1958. Disheartened and pursued this left the majority of the members who were between 50 and 70 years old to dissolve the association by 1960.
The GfRdS left their organizational records to the Internationale Freundschaftsloge (IFLO) (International Friendship League) in Bremen, where they were destroyed by the flood of 1962. The IFLO disbanded in 1962.