The new whk
The WhK / "Wissenschaftlich-humanitäres Komitee" (Scientific-humanitarian Committee) was re-founded on October 26th 1998 in Berlin, Germany.
The historical WhK, formed on May 15th 1897 by the German medical doctor and sexuologist Magnus Hirschfeld and some of his friends, was the first lesbian, gay and transsexual organization of the world. Its political aim was the de-criminalization of homosexuality. Therefore, Hirschfeld and the WhK closely cooperated with the left-wing parties of the German Reichstag, especially with the Social Democrats and the Communist Party.
The WhK was forced to dissolve itself in 1933 after the Nazis had taken over power in Germany. The world-famous Institut für Sexualwissenschaft (Institute for sexual sciences), founded and managed by Magnus Hirschfeld, was destroyed on May 6th 1933 by right-wing university students and members of the paramilitary Nazi organization SA. The scientific books written by Hirschfeld were burned in public on May 10th in Berlin. Beeing not only Jewish but also a convinced socialist, Magnus Hirschfeld had to emigrate. He died in 1935 in Nice, France.
The new whk was founded by a handfull of politically experienced gay and lesbian activists as an association of autonomous, regional based groups. It declared that its work will not be limited to the fight for the civil rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender persons. The whk program negates the possibility of sexual emancipation in a generally un-emancipated society. Consequently, whks explicit left-wing and anti-capitalist program is directed against repressive society systems, structures and laws in general, for example the restrictive traditional concept of marriage or the criminalization of abortion.
As one of its first political action, the new whk started a campaign to support Michaela Lindner, the transsexual mayor of a village named Quellendorf in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt in November. Lindner was elected in 1995 as a male and came out as a transsexual in May 1998. Her coming-out caused a hate campaign in the village. Within a fortnight, the whk collected over 1000 signatures, demanding to stop the procedere for Lindner's removal from mayors office. Although Mrs. Lindner failed to stay in office, the whk collected more names than any other campaign in the nineties started by the German lesbian and gay community. Unfortunately, the whk was the only les/bi/trans/gay organization in Germany campaigning for Lindner. But its call for support was followed by a member of the European Parliament as well as by five members of the German Bundestag.