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30 November 2014

Berlin, 1898

In Robert Beachy's Gay Berlin: Birthplace of a Modern Identity, p69 we find (he is paraphrasing the Tägliche Rundschau, 79, 20 March 1898):

"A gang of eight thieves arrested in March 1898 embodied this all-purpose deviancy.  Employed as house servants, butcher's apprentices, grill cooks and barkeeps, according to one newspaper report, these youths appeared to earn their pocket money as rent boys and shoplifters, and they spent much of their free time dressed in women's garb.  They were apparently successful passing themselves off as women, for they descended on department stores, en masse, where they stole large quantities of merchandise, which was later recovered from the ringleader's apartment.  In drag they used nicknames line Die Schöne (the pretty one), Schminkjuste (Juste in makeup) and Seiden-Guste (Guste in silk), and solicited sex at the Katzenmutter."

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