On This Gay Day: In 1880 Anna Rüling is born in Hamburg


Journalist Anna Rüling, was born on this day in 1880. In 1904 she gave a speech to the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee in Berlin, the first known public statement of the socio-legal problems faced by lesbians.

Her actual name was Theodora “Theo” Anna Sprüngli. One of the first modern women to come out as homosexual, she has been described as “the first known lesbian activist”.

Born into a middle class family in Hamburg, she originally trained as a violinist, but after she injured her arm she turned to journalism.  She began her career with a local newspaper before moving to Berlin where she worked for newspaper magnate August Scherl writing about theatre and music.

In 1904 Rüling was invited to speak at the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee, the world’s first LGBT advocacy group. She delivered a speech Homosexualitat und Frauenbewegung (Homosexuality and the Women’s Movement), where she expressed her view that the lesbian mindset had more in common with men than that of other women. She argued that homosexual people were a third gender, and that lesbian women were more reasonable than heterosexual women and more suited to working in professional roles.

She went on to publish a book of short stories, and continued to write for newspapers. In 1906 she moved to Dusseldorf where she lived for next thirty years. She became a regular contributor to Neue Deutsche Frauenzeitung, a right-wing paper with moderate views on women’s rights.

During the First World War Rüling was an ardent patriotist, nationalist and imperialist. There is no evidence though that she ever joined the Nazi party. In the late 1930’s she moved to Ulm where she worked as a secretary, director and script editor at a local theatre company. A decade later after World War II she moved again to Delmenhorst, where were continued working i ntheatre but also resumed her career as a journalist. She died suddenly in 1953, aged 72. At the time of her death she was one of the oldest female journalists in Germany. iOIP Staff

OIP Staff, this copyright owner of this image is unknown as it used under Fair Use. 


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