Trygve Skogrand

It may have been a happy Christmas

I am back in Norway after my period of artistic research in Berlin. My sketchbook, phone, and computer are full of notes, ideas, and images from archives and museums. A special thank you to the Magnus Hirschfeld Gesellschaft for allowing me to browse their archive in my search for glimpses of queer individuals from the Weimar era in Berlin and insights into the research and activism of Magnus Hirschfeld himself. It was very interesting, and I am really looking forward to starting to work with the material. 

Now it is Christmas, and I am sitting by our Christmas tree with my husband, reflecting on this early, openly queer community. Perhaps it is because of my own life story or my knowledge of what awaited these queer men and women a few years later, starting from 1933 and onwards – but I have been contemplating the story as a somewhat somber one. A short dance in the sun before the darkening clouds, akin to having a party on the Titanic. 

However, today, I am in a Christmassy mood and would like to focus on the happiness of freedom, love, and budding acceptance. So, I am imagining a rather plump man happily walking home after a wonderful Christmas party – either in a home filled with friends and lovers or perhaps in a Berlin club. I envision it is Christmas in the early 1920s, the city just awakening, and the snow starting to fall. He is still wearing a tutu from the Christmas party and is smiling to himself. He is happy.

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