Queer Places:
Alte St. Matthew's Church, Großgörschenstraße 12-14, 10829 Berlin
Kitty-Kuse-Platz, 10829 Berlin, Germany

HomeKäthe 'Kitty' Kuse (born 17 March 1904 in Schöneberg near Berlin as Hedwig Emma Käthe Kuse[1]; † 7 November 1999 in Berlin) was an activist of lesbian emancipation in Germany after the Second World War. She founded the first group for older lesbian women and was the founder, editor and author of the monthly magazine UKZ – Our Little Newspaper.

Kitty Kuse grew up in a left-wing working-class milieu in Berlin-Schöneberg. After primary school and vocational training, she worked as a commercial clerk. During the Nazi era, Kitty Kuse did not enter the Nazi Group and was not a member of any Nazi organization. She was unemployed for a long time and later worked as a puncher on the assembly line. She hid her sexual identity and considered using a male first name. [2][3] A doctor from Magnus Hirschfeld's Institute of Sexology advised her not to register with the Nazis.[3] Lesbians who were persecuted as Jewish supported them. So Gertrude Sandmann brought food across Berlin into hiding. After the Second World War she lived in East Berlin,completed her Abitur and studied economics.[2] Before the construction of the Berlin Wall, she moved with her partner to West Berlin. In the 1950s and 1960s, lesbian sexuality was not punishable, "but the repression against any way of life that did not correspond to the classical family image and the ideal of housewives' marriage continued. Women-loving women were subjected to massive marriage pressures, forcing them to live a double life and denying their sexual orientation. The taboo had such a far effect that even today the words 'lesbian' or 'lesbian' are hardly pronounceable for witnesses of this time".[4] In the feminist movement of the 1970s, the name 'lesbian' was converted from a discriminatory to a positive resistant name.[5] Kitty Kuse founded the group "L 74" together with other women in November 1974. "L" stood for Lesbos, "74" for the founding year. In the group, older working or already retired women first met in the premises of the Gay Action West Berlin (HAW). Some of them had still come to know lesbian culture in the Weimar period.[6] It was the first association of older lesbians whose realities of life differed from those of younger ones in the movement. Gertrude Sandmann and her partner Tamara Streck were among the occasional employees. From February 1975, Kuse published the small-format monthly magazine of the group UKZ – Our Small Newspaper, which existed until 2001.[8][8][9] Sandmann's drawing Lovers illustrated the cover for years. The publication should help to make homophobia and sexism visible in society and encourage lesbian women to step out of isolation. "Kitty Kuse was never a femme fatale and yet lived beyond all conventions. She had had relationships with women since the age of 16 and yet never had contact with the dazzling subculture of the Weimar period. Kitty Kuse accomplished the feat of swimming with the current and yet living against the grain." – Ilse Kokula.[10] On Kuse's 112th birthday, a memorial stone for Kitty Kuse was laid as part of the 160th anniversary of the Alte St. Matthew's Church in Berlin and the Berlin Women's March 2016,[11] to commemorate the pioneer of the lesbian movement. Eva Rieger and Christiane von Lengerke paid tribute to her life. [12][13] In June 2017, a green area in Berlin-Schöneberg was named Kitty-Kuse-Platz.


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  1. Toth, Emily; Seyersted, Per (1998). Kate Chopin's Private Papers. Indiana University Press. p. 297. Retrieved 3 January 2018.
  2. HOLLAND, DOROTHY GARESCHÉ. "THE GARESCHE, DE BAUDUY, ANO DES CHAPELLES FAMILIES: HISTORY ANO GENEALOGYDE" (PDF). Retrieved 3 January 2018.