a bill that will expunge the convictions of tens of thousands of German men for “homosexual acts” under that country’s anti-gay law known as “Paragraph 175.” That law dates back to 1871, when modern Germany’s first legal code was created.
It was repealed in 1994. But there was a serious movement to repeal
the law in 1929 as part of a wider LGBTQ rights movement. That was just
before the Nazis came to power, magnified the anti-gay law, then sought
to annihilate gay and transgender Europeans.
The story of how close Germany – and much of Europe – came to
liberating its LGBTQ people before violently reversing that trend under
new authoritarian regimes is an object lesson showing that the history
of LGBTQ rights is not a record of constant progress.