Uncovering a Life Deemed ‘Unworthy of Life’

Why the Story of Hans Heinrich Festersen—Gay, Disabled, and Murdered by the Nazis—Matters

On September 8, 1943, Hans Heinrich Festersen was hanged at Berlin’s Plötzensee prison. Festersen, 35, had been arrested almost a year earlier, on October 12, 1942, for violating Paragraph 175, the German law prohibiting sex between men. He received his death sentence on July 13, 1943.

Though the Nazis had broadened the law and increased its severity, gay men were not usually killed for violating Paragraph 175. So, why was Hans Festersen killed, and how did his letters from prison to his sister Ruth Marie end up in a museum exhibit …

Where I Go: Hunting Queer Ghosts in Chicago | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Where I Go: Hunting Queer Ghosts in Chicago

Why Being Gay and Being Haunted Go Together in Fundamental Ways

We think the ghosts will come to us as we sit in Kaitlyn’s car, once our car, on top of the man-made hill that houses the only mausoleum in Woodlawn …

Where I Go: A Big, Slow-Moving Boat

Aboard a Container Ship, I Found the Courage to Navigate Toward a New Future

May 2013: CMA CGM Dalila, offshore of Yokohama, Japan

The flat sea glimmers like a disco ball and it’s warm enough to sit outside without a puffy coat. All day long …

A Tale of Two Pride Marches | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

A Tale of Two Pride Marches

In the 1980s, Mexico’s Gay Rights Movement Was Fractured. Its Legacy Offers Lessons for Today

On June 25, 1983, two distinct marches set out from Mexico City’s Monumento a Los Niños Héroes. One was a traditional march, with a serious tone in line with the …

Can a Historic L.A. Bar’s Queer History Still Demand Justice?

Photographs from the Black Cat Tell the Tale of a Movement’s Muddled Origins—And Where It Might Go

The round face of a cartoon cat—big eyes, earnest smile—still hangs off the front façade of the Black Cat in Silver Lake.

Today, it peers out from above the kind of …