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May 25th

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Karl Heinrich Ulrichs

August 28th, 1825, Aurich, Hanover

July 14th, 1895 L'Aquila, Italy

Karl H. Ulrichs

Karl Heinrich Ulrichs is the first known out-of-the-closet gay activist. He was a risk taker, and risk taking, as they say, separates the men from the boys.

He started the modern Gay Movement by being the first to say publicly that Uranians (gay people) are natural, not sinners, diseased, or criminal. He set a new standard for everyone who followed by bringing a new, positive approach to bear on what he called the riddle of nature. From then on he began to change the way people thought about what is today called same-sex love.

Dr. Karl Heinrich Ulrichs is the first known person in modern history to:

  • Come out of the closet, first to family, then publicly
  • Write coming-out letters to his family
  • Speak in public to defend Uranism
  • Set the positive standard for everyone who followed: Uranism is natural, no sin, no disease, no crime
  • Encourage Uranians to come out of the closet
  • Demand Uranian rights be equal to "heterosexual" rights
  • Call for abolishing anti-Uranian laws
  • Demand women be given equal rights
  • Advise the people of the church to accept Uranians
  • Ask families to support Uranians
  • Reject the "Uranians-are-sick" theories of physicians
  • Claim Uranism also to be a moral and ethical lifestyle
  • Write the first books (12 of them) positively identifying Uranians as natural (that is, not as degenerate "heterosexuals"), and as being healthy, in the state of grace, and upstanding citizens
  • Address in his speeches and writings every Uranian-related issue, such as abortion, suicide, murder, police harassment, childhood sexuality, blackmail, the military, family values, hate crimes, privacy, economics, democracy, and marriage
  • Outline the first known bylaws for a Uranian organization
  • Suggest fundraising to aid Uranian-bashing victims
  • Identify May 26, 1864 (the day the ban on his books was lifted) as the beginning of a Uranian Movement

L'Aquila Crest Of Arms

L'Aquila Cemetry


Celebration 2000 was held to introduce gay people young and old to the heritage that Ulrichs said is rightfully theirs, and let gay people imbed it in their conscience that gay rights have been so hard-won, beginning with one lone voice seemingly calling in the desert. Now, gay people have a rich tradition of such voices, and it all began with Ulrichs.



Also read the following pages:
  • A short Biography
  • A personal Story by Paul J. Nash
  • The Riddle of Man-Manly Love and Bibliography

  • Photo at the top of this page: Ulrichs, from Jahrbuch (Annual), vol. 1 (1899), p. 36; velox 1978 courtesy A.J. Laurent

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