The Girlhood of a Man: 1907 autobiography of N O Body


The Girlhood of a Man n. o. body

The Girlhood of a Man, published in Berlin in 1907 under the pen name of N O Body, told the story of an intersex German who became a leading suffragette.

At the time of its publication, well-known German author Rudolf Presber and the sexologist Dr Magnus Hirschfeld vouched for the veracity of the story.

Decades after his death, researchers identified N O Body as Karl M Baer, German-Israeli author and suffragist.

N O Body

Karl was born in Berlin in 1884. The child possessed unusually shaped genitalia. Unsure of the kid’s actual sex, the parents decided to bring their child up as a girl.

However, the boy entertained their doubts about their sex during their school years. Suspicious that he might be a boy, he sometimes imagined himself a royal child, compelled to wear girl’s clothes to ward off some ominous fate. But Karl had a girl’s name, wore girl’s clothing and attended a girl’s school. She must be a girl.

Luckily, adulthood would solve the puzzle.

Karl M Baer became an ardent suffragette after studying at the University of Berlin.

An American newspaper employed the young German as a correspondent and he toured Russia on behalf of the paper.

In Moscow, he met and fell in love with a Russian woman. Funny how love can make everything clear.

Karl consulted with doctors who then performed gender-reaffirming surgery.

The second line of his 1907 book pleads for understanding for people to live their authentic lives, no matter how unusual.

“This life wants to be believed, no matter how strange it is.”

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Destiny Rogers

Destiny Rogers embarked on her career in the media industry immediately after high school, initially joining Mirror News, which later evolved into News Ltd. She fondly recalls editing Ian Byford's 'Passing Glances: A History of Gay Cairns' as one of her most fulfilling projects. Additionally, Destiny co-researched and co-wrote 'The Queen's Ball', chronicling the history of the world's longest-running continuous queer event. Her investigative work on the history of Australia's COON Cheese and Edward Coon culminated in the publication 'COON: More Holes than Swiss Cheese', a collaborative effort with Dr. Stephen Hagan. Destiny's journey at QNews began as a feature writer, and she was subsequently elevated to the role of Managing Editor of QNews Magazine in 2018. However, in July 2022, she decided to resign from this role to refocus on research and feature writing. For contact, please reach out at destinyr@qnews.com.au.

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