Portraits of a Lad*y

Pioneers of the trans* community: The materials gathered here show snapshots from five people’s lives – sometimes tender and personal, sometimes filtered through the pathologizing and sensationalist gaze of 20th century publics. From the Lili Elbe Archive in Berlin, its founder Niki Trauthwein has compiled a selection of newspaper articles with handwritten notes, historical press photos and private snapshots.

The Lili Elbe Archive was founded as an independent institution for the transmission and communication of the history of inter*, trans*, genderqueer and non-binary people. The collections include books, photos, videos, interviews with contemporary witnesses and other contemporary historical documents before and after 1945.

The examination of materials from the archive are also the starting point for Eliza Steinbock’s essay t4t: Archival Legacies of Trans for Trans Adoration, which appeared in 2021 in the volume Re_Visioning Bodies, from the HKW publication series Das Neue Alphabet.