This article has some interesting (and horrible) information in it about how lesbians were treated in Nazi Germany, and also some shocking internalised misogyny on the part of the writer, which says so much about how far we still have to go in terms of recognising the torture of women as being actual torture.
The author writes, “Stories from women’s camps, while not as violent as the men’s, highlight one way the Nazis tried to reform lesbian internees.”
So what is she talking about that happened to women, and specifically lesbians, that wasn’t as bad as what happened to men? Specifically, this:
“The Nazis used the brothels to ‘convert’ lesbians back to heterosexuality – but the women’s lives came with a ‘use by’ date, after which most of them were killed. The average span, and often life expectancy, for a woman to work in forced prostitution in one of the camps was six months.”
So the writer is talking about forced prostitution and repeated corrective rape so violent that many women died, or were killed, within six months.
And that is not as bad as what happened to men. Because…Women aren’t human, I guess? And deserve to be raped to death by men? Like, what else do we exist for? This writer is behaving in such a way that violence against women and lesbians is normalised and erased, even though talking about those abuses is meant to be the point of the article. It is inexcusable. It’s also utterly self-defeating.
Gay men eventually got their memorial and their apology and the ability to claim compensation for what happened during the Nazi era, and I entirely support that. I wonder if anyone has bothered to erect a memorial to all those lesbians (and no doubt many other women) who were repeatedly raped and murdered in concentration camps? I wonder if that’s a cause gay men would help lesbians fight for? I think we all know the answer.