Discourses on female homosexuality in a legal incapacitation assessment report from the Weimar Republic
This article looks at discussions of female homosexuality as seen within the records of a legal incapacitation case from the Weimar Republic. Here, Christiane Carri argues that the lack of criminal laws prosecuting homosexual women was a consequence of sexism in the application of criminal law, which placed the persecution of homosexual women within the realm of the family and private life. Her analysis examines scientific/psychiatric and political statements concerning female homosexuality, as well as their effects on the psychiatric assessment report for this case. This was prepared in Berlin in 1929 and exemplifies a number of legal incapacitation cases undertaken against women declared homosexual. None of the examined documents made a diagnosis of homosexuality itself – instead, it was mostly seen as a symptom of other mental illnesses, described in this case as "feeble-mindedness in the area of morality." The legal incapacitation of these women effectively put them on the level of an infant, both legally and socially, with many of them spending the rest of their lives in psychiatric institutions. This article is based on a dissertation project investigating legal incapacitation cases against women during the German Empire and the Weimar Republic.