Famous LGBTI Lawyers

  • Heinrich HÖSSLI (1784-1864), sometimes written as Hößli, was a Swiss hatter and author. His book "Eros - Die Männerliebe der Griechen" (2 vols., 1836, 1838) surveyed references to same-sex love in ancient Greek literature and more recent research, and was one of the first works in the 19th century that defended love between men.
  • Karl Heinrich ULRICHS (1825-1895) on on August 29, 1867 became the first homosexual to speak out publicly in defence of homosexuality when he pleaded at the Congress of German Jurists in Munich for a resolution urging the repeal of anti-homosexual laws. He was shouted down. Later he lived in Würzburg and Stuttgart. In 1879, Ulrichs published the twelfth and final book of his Research on the Riddle of Man-Manly Love. In poor health, and feeling he had done all he could in Germany, he went into self-imposed exile in Italy. For several years he travelled around the country before settling in L'Aquila, where his health improved.
  • Magnus HIRSCHFELD (1868 – 1935) was a German physician and sexologist. An outspoken advocate for sexual minorities, Hirschfeld founded the Scientific Humanitarian Committee, which Dustin Goltz called "the first advocacy for homosexual and transgender rights. In 1897, Hirschfeld founded the Scientific Humanitarian Committee with the publisher Max Spohr, the lawyer Eduard Oberg, and the writer Franz Joseph von Bülow. The group aimed to undertake research to defend the rights of homosexuals and to repeal Paragraph 175, the section of the German penal code that since 1871 had criminalized homosexuality. They argued that the law encouraged blackmail, and the motto of the Committee, "Justice through science", reflected Hirschfeld's belief that a better scientific understanding of homosexuality would eliminate hostility toward homosexuals. The Scientific-Humanitarian Committee, under Hirschfeld's leadership, managed to gather over 5000 signatures from prominent Germans for a petition to overturn Paragraph 175. Signatories included Albert Einstein, Hermann Hesse, Käthe Kollwitz, Thomas Mann, Heinrich Mann, Rainer Maria Rilke, August Bebel, Max Brod, Karl Kautsky, Stefan Zweig, Gerhart Hauptmann, Martin Buber, Richard von Krafft-Ebing and Eduard Bernstein. The bill was brought before the Reichstag in 1898, but was only supported by a minority from the Social Democratic Party of Germany, prompting Hirschfeld to consider what would, in a later era, be described as "outing": forcing some of the prominent and secretly homosexual lawmakers who had remained silent out of the closet. The bill continued to come before parliament, and eventually began to make progress in the 1920s before the takeover of the Nazi Party obliterated any hopes for reform. In 1921 Hirschfeld organised the First Congress for Sexual Reform, which led to the formation of the World League for Sexual Reform. Congresses were held in Copenhagen (1928), London (1929), Vienna (1930), and Brno (1932). When the Nazis took power, they attacked Hirschfeld's Institut on 6 May 1933, and burned many of its books. By the time of the book burning, Hirschfeld had long since left Germany for a speaking tour that took him around the world; he never returned to Germany. Hirschfeld came back to Europe in March 1932, stopping briefly in Athens, then spending several weeks in Vienna before moving on to Zurich in August 1932.
  • Fritz FLATO (1895-1949) was a notary and attorney who defended gay men in Berlin in the 1930 but had to emigrate to the United States.
  • Harvey MILK (1930-1978) was an American politician and the first openly gay elected official in the history of the State of California (USA), where he was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. He was the most pro-LGBT politician in the United States at the time. In 1972, Milk moved from New York City to the Castro District of San Francisco amid a migration of gay and bisexual men. In 1977 he won a seat as a city supervisor. His election was made possible by a key component of a shift in San Francisco politics.Milk served almost eleven months in office and was responsible for passing a stringent gay rights ordinance for San Francisco. On November 27, 1978, Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated by Dan White, who was another city supervisor.
  • Fannyann Viola EDDY (1974–2004) was an activist for lesbian and gay rights in her native Sierra Leone and throughout Africa. In 2002, she founded the Sierra Leone Lesbian and Gay Association, the first of its kind in Sierra Leone. She traveled widely, addressing the United Nations and other international groups. In April 2004, she advocated the passing of the Brazilian Resolution at the UN in Geneva. Eddy was murdered on September 29, 2004, a group of at least three men broke into the office of the Sierra Leone Lesbian and Gay Association in central Freetown, gang-raped her, stabbed her, and eventually broke her neck. Eddy left behind a 10-year-old son and a girlfriend Esther Chikalipa.


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