• The Other Love in the Other Germany: East German Film, Media, and Social Change for Gay Rights

    Kyle Frackman (see profile)
    Germany (East), Gays, Politics and government, Motion pictures
    Item Type:
    Conference paper
    Conf. Title:
    Canadian Association of University Teachers of German
    Conf. Org.:
    Canadian Association of University Teachers of German
    Conf. Loc.:
    Calgary, Alberta
    Conf. Date:
    May 30, 2016
    gay rights, East Germany, Queer/gay, Gender and queer studies, Politics, Film
    Permanent URL:
    Compared to its Western neighbour, the Federal Republic, the German Democratic Republic had experienced stunted growth in a number of areas, including that of lesbian and gay rights. Although the two countries decriminalized homosexual acts at about the same time (1968 in the East, 1969 in the West), their trajectories then diverged in the years that followed. Whereas in the West gay rights activists were able to freely assemble and agitate for change following these legal developments, in the East any such gatherings of likeminded would-be activists had to take place in secret and were subject to state surveillance and disruption. The 1973 West German broadcast of Rosa von Praunheim’s film Nicht der Homosexuelle ist pervers…, watched by a number of East German gay activists, served as a catalyst for organization, though change and official recognition would be slow in coming. It was not until the 1989 release of the short documentary Die andere Liebe (dir. Helmut Kißling and Axel Otten) that the GDR made its first explicit, cinematic statement on homosexuality, a film that had long been eagerly anticipated and awaited. This talk will examine the production of this largely ignored documentary, its intended and actual audience, the film’s reception, and its position in the context of mid- to late-1980s gay rights activism in East Germany. This film, like the feature film Coming Out (1989, dir. Heiner Carow) which was released not long afterward, fell prey to the coincidence of greater events surrounding the Wende.
    Last Updated:
    6 years ago
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