50 years ago the film “It is not the homosexual who is perverse, but the situation in which he lives” celebrated its world premiere. What do the then 28-year-old makers say today?
Berlin / Cologne – gays are often “politically passive” – and that “as a thank you for not being beaten to death”. It couldn’t be more provocative. 50 years ago (July 3rd) the film “It is not the homosexual that is perverse, but the situation in which he lives” celebrated its world premiere at the Berlinale.
The one-hour work by Rosa von Praunheim is considered to be the hour of birth of the modern gay movement in Germany. Today, the silent film with a speaker in the style of social criticism can seem strange. On the occasion of the anniversary, the WDR will broadcast the film again on Sunday evening (July 4th). Afterwards, a debate with the authors Rosa von Praunheim and Martin Dannecker from 1973 will be repeated.
The rainbow flag did not exist
1971 – That was less than 30 years after the Nazis’ excesses of persecution and less than two years after male homosexuality among adults had even become legal in the Federal Republic of Germany.
The rainbow flag as a symbol of acceptance and equality for people who do not identify with the supposed norms surrounding gender and sex was not even invented.
The summer of 1971 was a very eventful one: at the beginning of June hundreds of women announced in “Stern” “We have an abortion!”, And not only initiator Alice Schwarzer regards this campaign as the hour of birth of the modern German women’s movement. A month later, another group, marginalized by straight men, started their movement: gays.
In von Praunheim’s film it says: “Since the gays are despised by the philistine as sick and inferior, they try to become even more narrow-minded in order to dispel their feelings of guilt with an excess of bourgeois virtues.” flee the mendacious world of work to the subculture, where they are hardly recognized as individuals, but as gays. Conclusion: “It is not the homosexual who is perverse, but the situation in which he lives”.
From Trauma Aids
Pioneering thinker Dannecker – born in 1942 and now 78 years old as well as Alice Schwarzer and Rosa von Praunheim – also relied on the critical theory of the Frankfurt School with psychoanalysis and psychoanalysis in his standard work “The Ordinary Homosexual” (together with Reimut Reiche) in the spirit of the age of 1968 Marxism. In the 80s, when the HIV virus began to dominate all talk about gays, sexologist Dannecker also said a lot about trauma AIDS. He saw the danger that old enemy images (keyword “gay epidemic”, “gay cancer”) would be revived, and at the same time fought for the liberal path of containment, that is, the beginning of cooperation between gays and the state that had been perceived as an enemy for decades.
When it came to HIV, there was an open break with Rosa von Praunheim. While the filmmaker and activist called on gays to forego promiscuity in the face of AIDS, Dannecker opposed individual freedom and spoke out vehemently against the moral devaluation of unprotected sexual intercourse.
Marriage for everyone is not everything
In the meantime, the two doyen of the gay movement are talking to each other again, even if they are not best friends, as both say. They all agree on the subject of marriage for all. In the context of equality and at the civil rights level, it is of course okay that lesbians and gays are allowed to marry. Praunheim says: “I am not against it, but from a purely social point of view we did not see the petty-bourgeois marriage as an ideal.” And Dannecker says, very far from the left, that it is “a bit too much state recognition” for him.
After finishing his work at the Institute for Sex Research at the University of Frankfurt 15 years ago, Dannecker moved to Berlin. Today he still advises as a supervisor. Von Praunheim, who named himself after the Frankfurt district where he grew up, has lived in Berlin for a long time. He made a lot of films, received multiple awards and was also a professor of directing at the Babelsberg Film University in Potsdam. In his own words, he is currently “in the middle of preparing to shoot a docudrama about the singer Rex Gildo”.
Both Dannecker and von Praunheim are skeptical of the question of whether society can learn something from gays in the corona crisis, which the HIV pandemic as a group particularly affected.
Germany has probably learned from HIV and AIDS that a crisis associated with a complicated virus and a fatal disease can be “reasonably managed”, says Dannecker. But the corona virus potentially affects everyone. “AIDS, on the other hand, had a relationship with so-called risk groups from the start. That charged discrimination. “
Corona also has the potential to stigmatize, for example against young or poor people, and there have been repeated attempts in the past year. “But if I am not mistaken, then these approaches to discrimination have collapsed again and again.” Dpa