Vishal P. Singh
After Adolf Hitler became chancellor of Germany— Nazis in cities across the nation celebrated their victory with public book burnings. Jewish authors were primarily targeted. Among them: the legendary scientist Magnus Hirschfeld, who was a trailblazer in LGBTQ+ medical science. The Institute for Sexual Research, which Hirschfeld founded, helped break new ground in the field of gender affirming healthcare for transgender and non-binary people. According to the Museum of Jewish Heritage, a Holocaust museum in New York: “before 1933, Germany was a center of LGBTQ+ community and culture, with several renowned organizations serving and supporting trans and gender non-conforming people. Hitler’s Nazi government, however, brutally targeted the trans community, deporting many trans people to concentration camps and wiping out vibrant community structures." Following Hitler's rise to power, the Institute for Sexual Research was raided and ransacked by Nazi supporters— and the Institute's books and research were burned by the fascist fanatics.
This would not be the last time ultranationalist hate warped the masses into destroying LGBTQ+ science and history. As genocidal anti-LGBTQ+ hate becomes mainstream across the Republican Party— the United States is quickly losing its reputation for being a haven for LGBTQ+ rights. A blitzkrieg of discriminatory laws and cultural terrorism has rocked the queer community of this country.
Even here in California, a coalition of self described "concerned parents" and documented fascist extremists formed the Leave Our Kids Alone anti-LGBTQ+ group: and they are openly pushing for the same kinds of Nazi-style book burnings that destroyed so much of Hirschfeld's LGBTQ+ research. A Leave Our Kids Alone official Instagram page shared footage of evangelical Christian extremists in Chiapas, Mexico standing in a circle and burning LGBTQ+ books after a painfully familiar genocidal moral panic. Other far-right and Republicans social media pages have also favorably shared videos of the book burning. Republican lawmakers have been successfully banning LGBTQ+ books in schools across the country. But it seems this organized fascist project is moving into its next phase. This is not a new pattern. Nazism, Christian nationalism, and anti-intellectualism are— if anything, reliably recognizable. So open your eyes and take a look.