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Benedict Friedlander
(July 8, 1866 - June 21, 1908) Grmany

Benedict Friedlander

Scientist and gay rights advocate


Friedlander (Benedikt Friedlaender) was born in Berlin. Natural scientist, thinker, and leader in the homosexual emancipation movement, Benedict Friedlander with others formed the Gemeinschaft der Eigenen (The Community of the Elite) in 1902. The Community of the Elite people were deeply insulted by Ulrichs' theory of a weak "third sex". They perceived themselves not merely as masculine, but as a breed of men superior in masculine qualities even to heterosexuals.

The Community of the Elite preached that male homosexuality was the foundation of all nation-states and that male homosexuals represented an elite strata of human society. The Community of the Elite fashioned itself as a modern incarnation of the warrior cults of ancient Greece. Modeling themselves after the military heroes of Sparta, Thebes and Crete, the members of the Community of the Elite were ultra-masculine, male-supremacist and devoted to man/boy sex.

He helped work on the magazine Kampf and gave money to the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee (WhK) in Berlin, where he met Magnus Hirschfeld. The initial focus of the WhK was to work against Paragraph 175 of the Imperial Penal Code, which criminalized "coitus-like" acts between males. The WhK assisted defendants in criminal trials, conducted public lectures, and gathered signatures on a petition for the repeal of the law.

Friedlaender left the WhK in 1902 and, with Adolf Brand and Wilhelm Jansen, founded the LGBT-organisation called Gemeinschaft der Eigenen, or "The Community of the Self-Owners". The word Eigenen can mean either "special" or "self-owner", and The Community was inspired in part by the individual anarchism and libertarianism philosophy of Max Stirner and Friedrich Nietzsche. The Community advocated being married and having extramarital relationships with younger men, a practice Friedlaender and Brand followed.

Benedict Friedlander and Der Eigene fall into the Romantic mold, wishing to emphasize "social and historical reasons" for homosexuality, as opposed to the biological ones put forth by Hirschfeld. The organization folded upon Friedlaender's death in Berlin.


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