Autobiography of an Androgyne/Introduction

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search


I offer no apology for bringing the Autobiography of an Androgyne before the members of the learned professions, to whom the sale of this book is restricted.

Were, in my opinion, an apology needed, this volume would not make its appearance through my instrumentality.

The reason for its appearance is missionary, and therefore I consider it right and proper that I should explain what I hope to accomplish thereby.

I am sorry not to be able to say that the appearance of this volume will fill a longfelt want.

For, although I hope to fill with the Autobiography of an Androgyne a void; yet, had this void been recognized, were the want felt to have this void filled, my task would be easier of accomplishment.

The void whereof I speak is the colossal ignorance of the reasons for homosexual practices on one side, and the pharisaical pulchritude on the other side, which, although knowing that homosexuality has been practiced uninterruptedly from biblical times up to the present, refuses to study its causes or its devotees; and while not endeavoring to make this world a better place to live in through its own abandoning unwholesome practices, vices and other actions which, although approved, condoned or ignored by the multitude—because these actions are popular—are condemned by philosophers and thinkers, yet will crucify those whose vices are much less harmful, because they are vices for which this pharisaical pulchritude has no taste, which therefore it cannot understand, and not understanding them, cannot condone.

This is to be no brief in defense of homosexuality, although, were I to try to find redeeming features for homosexual practices in certain cases and under certain circumstances, I would not have to cudgel my brain overly to do so.

This is not intended as a defense of all those who indulge in homosexual practices.

Such a defense might be attempted and successfully carried out, were it possible to bring this question before a jury of unbiased, open-minded and independent thinkers, who would decide the question upon the platform of equal justice to all, weighing the relative harmfulness of all sexual crimes and excesses, and who would not punish those indulging in homosexual practices, if they refuse to punish those indulging in sexual crimes and excesses vastly more injurious to the human race and to society.

This book is published in an endeavor to obtain justice and humane treatment for the Androgynes, that class of homosexualists in whom homosexuality is not an acquired vice but in whom it is congenital.

In pleading a case in Court, even before the highest tribunals, it is good practice not to take it for granted that the judge knows the law, or even facts, which might appear to the pleader to be matters of common knowledge; and so I may be excused if I state to the reader matters which to him may be already familiar.

Let us then first consider what Homosexuality is.

Homosexuality means sexual love for one of the same sex. Thus, if a male feels sexual desire for another male, or a female for another female, they are called sexually inverted or homosexual.

Freud claims that there is in every one an original bisexual tendency, which is also established anatomically.

Normal development leads from bisexuality to the primacy of the heterosexual instinct.

Thus inversion corresponds to a disturbance of development.

Whether one agrees with Freud, that homosexuality or inversion originates in every instance in early childhood, or whether one disagrees with him and takes the stand which I take, that some cases of homosexuality are congenital, that others are acquired in early childhood, while others again are the result of vice or sexual necessity, as among soldiers, sailors, or in schools; we must come to the conclusion, that laws which do not differentiate in the punishment of crimes against nature between those who are born inverts or whose inversion dates from early childhood and those whose homosexuality is due to vice or association and who amphogenously inverted or occasionally inverted use a sexual object belonging either to the same or the opposite sex, are inadequate, antiquated, not keeping step with the progress which has been made as to the subject, and should be changed.

The subject has been discussed not for tens, or hundreds, but for thousands of years.

Martial, in his epigrams, treats of homosexuality; Socrates and Alcibiades were said to have been lovers; this is the reason why pederasty is also called Socratic love.

Homosexuality in women is called tribadism, euphemism, Lesbian or Sapphic love; this because Sappho, after having lost Faon, is said to have turned from men to homosexual love.

This should be sufficient to show that homosexuality was discussed among the Romans and Greeks, and it is well known that the Bible is not quiet about it.

Thus then one should expect that a subject which has been so much discussed should be well enough understood to have its devotees treated fairly.

Let us see what the law has to say about it?

While in some countries homosexuality is not punishable, in the United States the law on homosexuality is all comprised in the statutes under the term of Sodomy.

This comprises not only homosexuality, but also bestiality.

The Penal Code of the State of New York, par. 303, says:

Crimes against Nature.

A person who carnally knows in any manner any animal or bird; or carnally knows any male or female person by the anus or by or with the mouth; or voluntarily submits to such carnal knowledge; or attempts sexual intercourse with a dead body is guilty of sodomy and is punishable with imprisonment for not more than twenty years.

Par. 304:

Penetration sufficient. Any sexual penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete the crime specified in the last section.

Our discussion has nothing to do with bestiality or sexual violation of the dead or unnatural practices between persons of different sex.

And here I wish to state that homosexuality between females, or so-called Lesbian or Sapphic love, has, to my knowledge, never been punished in the United States, although the statute seems broad enough to cover certain sexual practices, as for example cunnilingus, between females, while tribadism, in which there is no penetration, and whose devotees according to Yanez, are called in Spain vulgarly "tortilleras," according to the New York Code can not be punished, as there is no penetration. Yanez, in his Medicina Legal, published in Madrid in 1884, gives an excellent description of homosexuality and describes also the general appearance of those male homosexualists whose ways and manners resemble those of the female sex, and who in common parlance in the United States are called "Fairies."

Tidy, in his Legal Medicine, not only refers, in discussing homosexuality, to Romans, I, 26, but gives some historical references, and cites a number of English cases.

In speaking of "sodomites," he says: "Sodomites are persons of all ages, but they usually present a somewhat feminine appearance, or strive to appear like women. To this end they commonly conceal or destroy, as far as practicable, such virile appendages as beard, whiskers, or moustache, wearing a profusion of jewelry, paint and padding. So far, indeed, may this liking go, that in one case a male to the death is said to have passed himself off as a female, being employed evidently as a passive agent.

"And yet, curious to say, sodomites generally affect the society of their own sex, and avoid that of the opposite sex.

"To them natural sexual intercourse is frequently a matter of absolute distaste..... All this suggests the curious question, whether such aberration of sexual desires may not be the result of an incipient hermaphrodism. Casper's account of a brotherhood of sodomites and of their mutual powers of recognition, further suggests to the medical jurist (dangerous as the very idea may be accounted) how far the criminality of these people is not beyond their control. But on the other hand, undoubted sodomites are to be found with none of the characteristics just described and free from all hereditary taint."

I have quoted from Tidy at such length, to show that Tidy recognized the fact that in certain homosexualists a hereditary taint is the cause and because I wish to emphasize the fact that while the condition has been recognized by Tidy and others, yet it has not been clearly understood.

This can be deduced from the words above quoted, that "curious to say, sodomites generally affect the society of their own sex."

It must be understood, that the congenital homosexualist is really a human being, born with the body of a male, with perhaps some female characteristics, but with the soul of a female. The congenital homosexualist always feels himself as a female, and therefore is always attracted towards men and would rather be in their society than in the society of females, who are sexually repulsive to him. This Tidy evidently failed to clearly understand.

This then is my contention, that homosexuality is either an acquired vice, that is to say a habit, or an acquired mental aberration, that is to say, insanity, or congenital; and then it is that a human being is born with a body with sexual organs all those of the male, yet most likely with a body which shows certain earmarks of the female, and with a soul nearly all female, but certainly entirely female in regard to the sex question. Such a person is a homosexualist, because he feels like a woman and to him all male persons belong to the opposite sex. He is not a roué, who has developed homosexuality as a vice, but he is born an androgyne, whom we can recognize in his manners and mannerisms; a male person with female ways.

If then the Bible already speaks of homosexual practices and warns against the idolatrous homosexual practices devoted to Moloch and Bal Phegor; if already Juvenal and Martial and Cornelius Nepos describe homosexuality, were it not about time that something were done to change the existing laws?

Hofman, in his Lehrbuch der gerichtlichen Medizin, published in 1884, draws attention to the fact that passive pederasts are generally of remarkable femininity, and quotes Brouardel as also remarking that this female appearance, these female actions and these female habits, likes and dislikes are generally congenital.

Tidy also, in his work on Legal Medicine, published in 1883, states: "Nor must the hereditary nature of such crimes be overlooked."

To quote from Beranger:

"Son teint, reluisant de pomade,
Par le carmin est embelli.
On le devine, quand il passe,
Autour de lui l'air est ambré.
Ses cheveux bouclent avec grace,
Son habit presse un dos cambré.
Comme une coquette un peu grasse,
Dans un corset il est serré."

Mantegazza, in his Hygiene of Love, published in 1877, mentions the subject and states that these cases generally are not due to congenital aberration, thus admitting that some of them are. I think that it was in 1877 when Krafft-Ebing first drew attention to the psycho-pathology of certain forms of homosexuality; since that time forty years have passed, and still the laws fail to differentiate between the vicious pederasts and the unfortunate passive pæderasts. The distinction between those in whom homosexual practices are a vice and in whom they are a misfortune, is, it seems to me, generally very easily made. The vicious homosexualist acts the part of a male. The unfortunate, insane or congenital homosexualist acts the part of a female. The one is active, the other passive.

That the passive homosexualist is a victim of nature, an unfortunate who is generally despised and hounded, seems however not to be enough, for he is also considered legitimate prey of the underworld, who blackmail these unfortunates systematically. This form of blackmail is known under the term of "chantage," and practiced in every large city of the European and American continents. The laws against homosexuality, as at present in force, similar to the Mann White Slave Act, seem to only serve blackmailing crooks, so as to give them an easy living.

It is true that homosexuality at present is not punished as severely as it was in olden times. It was not so long ago when in Europe it was punished by burning, later by burying alive; only a few years ago in the United States it was punishable by hanging; now the punishment is much milder, but, if it be admitted that homosexuality in certain easily recognizable persons is congenital and incurable, and if it be also admitted that it surely is a great deal less harmful than ordinary prostitution, why punish it at all, or why not at least exempt from punishment those homosexualists whom Krafft-Ebing so rightly calls "true stepchildren of nature"?

The author of the Autobiography of an Androgyne called on me some time ago with his manuscript, imploring me to read it and to publish it.

He told me that he had written most of it years ago and that he had spent a great deal of time trying to find a publisher, but unsuccessfully.

He stated that he had written his autobiography in an endeavor to bring his misfortune vividly before the medical and legal fraternities, for the purpose of lightening the heavy load which rested so unjustly, as he said, upon the unfortunates of his class.

While proving to me through letters which were in his possession and which were addressed to him under various pseudonyms, that he had submitted his work to different men of learning, all of whom commented upon it favorably, still the fact that he had unsuccessfully tried to find a publisher among the various publishers of medical works, was not a very good introduction of his manuscript to me; yet the open statement of this fact spoke for his honesty, and although very busy at the time, I promised him that I would read it.

Now a word about the author: While, according to his own statement, he is in the fifth decade, he would pass as considerably younger. I have seen him during the preparation of the work a score of times and have had some slight chance of observing him.

His language was always very carefully chosen and showed considerable polish.

His manner was always very gentlemanly and inoffensive.

In figure he is short, stout and has a very arched back.

His voice is rather hoarse, trembling and has, perhaps, a certain female timbre.

His manner seemed generally timid and embarrassed, and he blushes very easily.

From his appearance and manners he can, by the gnoscenti, be easily recognized as an Androgyne.

His avowed purpose in writing and desiring the publication of his Autobiography, is, as I stated before, by describing his martyrdom, to lighten the burdens which other Androgynes have to bear; yet my study of him makes me think that the underlying and perhaps to him unknown reason for the creation of this Autobiography is vanity.

The author is extremely vain.

My impression of him is, that while he really suffered the agonies he describes; while he really in the beginning of his career underwent the soul struggles he tells about; yet he is at present extremely proud of the, to him undisputable fact, that he is all of a woman's soul in a body which he believes to be one-third female and thus only two-thirds male.

There is no doubt but that his body shows some female characteristics; especially so his breasts.

He glories in it.

To him, this at least is my impression, to be all woman would be heavenly.

Some years ago he underwent the operation of castration.

He says, and perhaps he believes, that the reason why he underwent the operation was, that he suffered from spermatorrhoea.

My belief is, that, feeling as a woman, desiring to be a woman and wishing to seem as much as possible like a woman to his male paramours, he hated above all the testicles, those insignia of manhood, and had them removed to be more alike to that which he wished to be.

I read through his Autobiography of an Androgyne.

I cannot say that I enjoyed it.

I neither liked the style in which it was written, nor the manner in which, to me, unimportant details were given a great deal of space, nor the manner in which vital questions were entirely overlooked.

I did not see any scientific value in the conversations related nor any poetical value in the verses recited. The subject matter was all well known to me and nauseating.

I was to edit this "Autobiography" and stood aghast at the task that I thought was before me.

I saw the author and told him what I have just stated and that in my opinion the book had neither literary nor scientific value in the way in which he thought it had. I found that the author was severely hurt. This Autobiography was his joy—a work which this epoch had been waiting for and which futurity will crown as a classic. He fought with all his might against any of his verses being omitted. Every single word that I wanted to change or expunge was of vital importance to him.

And then I saw a light.

The Autobigroahy of an Androgyne would serve its mission best unedited, and so it practically remains. The author, in writing this book, has written into it his own soul, for him to read who can see further than the printed word.

He has lighted a torch to show in his own way the baser sex feelings of a sexual invert.

He has shown some of the suffering which he has undergone at the beginning of his career.

He has shown the contempt in which the Androgyne is held by reason of a psychical aberration not of his own making.

He has shown how the homosexualist who does not do because he wills but who does because he must, is exploited by the criminal classes.

In thus lighting the torch and holding it up for us to see what he desires us to see, he also unconsciously lights up himself in all his womanly vanity, showing his pride in the fact that he is different from others; showing his pride in his many conquests; in fact, if I may use the word in a perhaps not quite exact way, giving a psychoanalysis of himself without attempting to do so.

Thus then, while the author offers the Autobiography of an Androgyne as a plain chronological statement of facts slightly covered to hide his identity, I offer it at the same time as a psychological study, well worthy of a careful analysis.

Whether this volume is read from the author's view-point or from mine, only one conclusion can be reached:

Such as he are not to be punished.

Alfred W. Herzog.

October, 1918.