Remaking Men: Masculinity, Homosexuality and Constitutional Medicine in Germany, 1914-1933

TitleRemaking Men: Masculinity, Homosexuality and Constitutional Medicine in Germany, 1914-1933
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsTrask, April
JournalGerman History
Pagination181 - 206
Date Published2018/06//

In the early 1920s, German sexual scientists championed testicular modification as the cure for the 'effeminate' male homosexual. This article explores how, between 1914 and 1933, sexual scientists were able to imagine that they could engineer the body to transform the soul. Joining interdisciplinary work on the social history of medicine and gender, it traces the efforts of medical practitioners to understand and discipline the transgressing of normative gender roles, so-called 'intermediacy', that became central to taxonomies of sexual deviancy in the twentieth century. This article examines how sexual scientists engaged war pathology, endocrinology and constitutional medicine to develop utopian treatments that promised to turn 'effeminates' into ideal German men. It illuminates how medical experts imagined their role in defining the healthy embodiment of militant, patriarchal manhood as constitutive of social stability and political citizenship during a time in which German masculinity was assumed to be in crisis. Medical experts cast testicular modification as a possible antidote to the 'hysteria' of returning soldiers and the perceived effeminacy of urban men and alleged sexual deviants. While leading sexual scientists clashed on the ethics of surgeries aimed at restoring 'masculine' traits to the 'weak-willed' and male homosexuals, they agreed that glandular modification held the key to unlocking the malleability of men and the extent--and limits--of scientific intervention.

Short TitleGerman History