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A History of
In the United States
Le Chevalier D’Eon de Beaumont, 1728-1810, described by biographer Gary Kates thusly: “Born in 1728, French aristocrat Charles d'Eon de Beaumont had served his country as a diplomat, soldier, and spy for fifteen years when rumors that he was a woman began to circulate in the courts of Europe. D'Eon denied nothing and was finally compelled by Louis XVI to give up male attire and live as a woman, something d'Eon did without complaint for the next three decades. Although celebrated as one of the century's most remarkable women, d'Eon was revealed, after his death in 1810, to have been unambiguously male.” Richard von Krafft-Ebing, 1840-1902, a 19th century scientist and one of the most prominent figures in the field of sexology. He first published his sweeping book, Psychopathia Sexualis, in 1886, in which he sought to catalogue the many forms of sexual psychopathology. Despite categorizing sexual orientations, such as homosexuality, fetishes, and impotence as psychological illness, he was progressive in his stance that homosexuality should not be criminalized, and that sufferers of psychological illness should be treated with therapy rather than imprisonment. Karl Ulrichs, 1825-1895, was a 19th century lawyer and academician who first coined the term Urning as an attempt to define individuals with same-sex desire without invoking the sexual act. This is considered the earliest version of the more contemporary words homosexual or gay. In the 1860s he formulated his influential concept of a female soul in a male body, expressed in Latin as anima muliebris virile corpore inclusa. This attempt to understand homosexuality as a mental sex at odds from physical sex served as a precursor to future scientists’ distinctions between sex and gender. Max Marcuse, 1877-1963, a 20th century German sexologist, published an article in 1916, on Geschlectsumwandlungstrieb, or drive for sex transformation, in which he distinguished the request for sex-change surgery from more generalized sexual inversion or crossgender identification. Havelock Ellis, 1859-1902, the British sexologist who once wrote that the theory of “universal bisexuality” was “widely accepted” and speculated that human bisexuality might provide the biological basis for transvestism, which he called “sexo-aesthetic inversion.” Ellis also coined the term “Eonism” based upon his study of the fascinating life of the Chevalier D’Eon. Otto Weinenger 1880-1903: The Concept of Universal Bisexuality Scholars, including Sigmund Freud, Charles Darwin, and Otto Weininger, presented evidence on the overlap of masculine and feminine traits, and tended to view gender as a continuum rather than a binary. Their theories lead to more open cultural attitudes about gender and sexuality compared to those present in the U.S. Eugene Steinach 1861-1944, a 20th century Austrian physiologist who used experimented with using hormones to change the sex of rodents. Recognizing the profound effects of hormones on physical characteristics, he wrote, “The line of demarcation between the sexes is not as sharp as is generally taken for granted… A one hundred percent man is as non-existent as a one hundred percent woman.” All humans, he said, have “the primordial anlage or potentiality for either sex.”
1. The Steinach operation: Assigned