Men, Heroes, and Gay Nazis

In the wake of the California Supreme Court’s decision to uphold Proposition 8, banning gay marriage, I found this 2004 documentary by Rosa von Praunheim about gay men in Germany who belong to ultra right-wing, nationalist organizations interesting, if only for the dichotomy it seems to represent. It may boggle the mind to imagine someone who, as a member of an oppressed group or subculture, would choose to associate with a group who champions a way of thinking that is so diametrically opposed to that individual’s well-being; a way of thinking that went so far as to sanction their extermination. That they themselves don’t appear to see this conflict of interests is strange, but that they would not sympathize with the groups that they speak against may strike one as stranger.

It is, I think, a blind spot for many of the more liberal minded of us. The quest for equality, as noble and necessary as it is, will always have a less savory side; for while we are all indeed the same regardless of skin color, or belief, or sexual orientation, we can also fear the same way, and hate the same way, and discriminate the same way. It seems that for many — many more than should be — equality does not apply to everyone and just because they deserve the same rights and privileges as “everyone else”, doesn’t mean there aren’t those lower on the totem pole who don’t deserve the same; those who can still remain quantified as “other”.

It is, perhaps, a cynical take on human nature but one that bears some truth. Hopefully in time it, like Prop 8, will be nothing but a sad and embarrassing memory.

[via poeTV]

12 Responses to “Men, Heroes, and Gay Nazis”

  1. john colby Says:

    Ernst Rhom ran the SA Brown shirts. He had worked as a bouncer for a club called the El Dorado. It was the the biggest Transexual bar in Weimar Germany. For more info on the Nazi Gay connection I can rec. the book “Veluptuous Panic”.

  2. Alice Says:

    Prejudice from oppressed minorities doesn’t even need to be that extreme. Just ask as bisexual who is in a heterosexual relationship how welcome they are in GLBTI activist communities. Prejudice from within that community can be even more vitriolic than from the straight community, especially when a bisexual chooses to get married!

    Groups of people are not the problem. The predisposition to tribe-mind and us vs. them mentalities is the problem. Fingers crossed for a more enlightened future.

  3. mano Says:

    Too bad Pink Panzer is already taken, that would be a perfect name for a gay, white power hardcore band. Bonus points if they are Mexican.

  4. Nadya Says:

    @ John – Part 5 of this documentary focuses heavily on Rohm. How strange that he and others like him from his time could turn a blind eye to what was happening to “their kind” in the concentration camps!

  5. haxor Says:

    @Nadya Röhm didn’t turn a blind eye on what happened to “his kind”. He was killed in 1934. The first concentration camp was established in 1933 and was first only used for political enemys (communists, liberals, christians…). Concentration camps for gays came later.

  6. Kale Kip Says:

    That documentary made me very uncomfortable. It is that awkward mix of pity and disgust I feel for neonazi’s and other hooligans, except that this is even more fucked up. There’s a part of me that feels terrible sorry for those guys, and there’s a part of me that says that Ernst Rohm sort of had it coming. Both make me feel sick. I wonder if these people are psychologically similar to bug chasers.

    This is one of the few moments I wish I had hair on my head.

  7. R. Says:

    It’s not hard to believe that people who are oppressed would join groups that seek to oppress them. You have gay Republicans and as we all know, most Republicans want to cart gays off to somewhere far away.

    Also by not acknowledging that others of the same background were being killed, I’m sure Rohm would have said it was his duty to Hitler and to Germany. While he could have covertly aided them, the mindset of Nazi Germany was already ingrained in him like a brand on skin.

  8. Tequila Says:

    @haxor…Yup, plus Rohm was hardly subtle about his sexuality and in his ranks it was heavily encouraged to be open about it. The SA camps (regular camps not concentration camps) of the era were pretty much 100% male. Needless to say it raised all sorts of questions from those outside the organization as to how healthy this was…not only on a moral level but on a social one. I remember a debate long ago as to where women would have been placed on a Nazi Germany where Rohm continued to have heavy influence. Had the Night of Long Knives been a failure one wonders just how far Rohm would have pushed his lifestyle and ideology within the Nazi ranks.

    @mano…I would totally go see that band. The merch alone would be awesome. I kinda want a rainbow colored panzer t-shirt now.

    @R. No doubt, though it should be noted Rohm was a key architect of the Nazi machine prior to his death. So really when you are that high up, you make and break rules of any kind at will. Ideology at that point really can just become another means to an end…not a hardline doctrine.

    It’s an interesting documentary so far, still going through it. Always been fascinated how groups define masculinity. It’s such a core issue between gay and straight men (and within each “side” also) that one wonders just how much of that slows progress down or how much it will always keep many at violent odds

  9. Bertrand Says:

    Haha this is a tricky subject. The lack of actual historical elements to prove or dismiss the various degrees of influence gay groups may have had on the nazi movements led me to file it alongside the “occult roots of nazism” !
    One element that the documentary doesnt quote, though, is the Volkish background of the rise of nazsm : long before nazism arised, in the early to late 1900′, the Volkish movement, which was some kind of prototype of 60′ hyppies, promoted an aesthetic based on the idealisation of the naked body and emphasized the importance of living close to nature. This, alongside Ernst Junger’s very own brand of idealised form of warrior-like friendship, was probably at the root of most of the gay-looking nazi iconography (just look at Arno Brecker for example) ;
    I have once heard of a straight german NPD that Rohm’s opinion was that, just like in ancient germany, the weak/passive homosexuals had to be drowned in the swamps. I have no clue where he had this from and no idea if there is any historical proof that either german tribes or SA we practicing this policy or thinking of doing so, but the idea that the passive homosexuals where the “unpure” ones would fit in the picture.
    As well, to understand gay neo-nazis, it is important i believe to understand that neo-nazis are very different from the original nazis. Anyone spending some time within those groups will understand after some time that most of them, be it the leaders or the grunts, and be them gay or straight, have a very fetishistic relation to nazism : like a lot of extremists movements in our post-modern contemporary settings, they are more pre-occupied with aesthetics than with proper politics.
    Add to this that during those last twenty years extrem rights movements have been trying hard to place themselves as oppressed minorities and portrait themselves more as the resistance (see the pro-palestinians, eco-fascists, animal-right protecting ns for example) than as the oppressor they used to appear like in the 8O’, and you have an odd conjunction that allow gay fetishists to use the npd as a whole as a playground for their life-size fantasies.

  10. john colby Says:

    Nadya, sorry to say it but Human nature sadly runs contrary for the most part. Hess was gay as well , he had wild parties for the boys. I scanned some the the VP book I email it to you if I can find it. You’d like the book. Its the whole history of Weimar Berlin.

  11. Jamie Says:

    Definitely agreeing with Kale Kip. I think the subject is really interesting, but I got halfway through part 3 and can’t bring myself to watch any more. I’ve got this feeling of disgust and discomfort that isn’t going away.

    On a lighter note, when I saw the title of the post, I immediately thought of Hooded Justice. Clearly someone’s been getting a little too into the Watchmen sourcebook lately…

  12. Tincho Says:

    @Alice: fully agree on that, is amazing how the gay/lesbian community discriminates against other colors in the queer spectrum, and against heterosexuals too.

    I’ve witnessed/suffered personally both kinds, in different countries. Too bad nowadays people only care if a hetero disciminates a G/L, but not the other way aournd.