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14 August 2022

Berthold Buttgereit (1891 - 1983) bookkeeper

Buttgereit was born and raised in Berlin, a tomboy who grew up to be a trans man. In 1912, at the age of 21, Buttgereit approached Magnus Hirschfeld and with an expert opinion from Hirschfeld and the neurologist Ernst Burchard was able to obtain a Transvestitenschein from the Berlin police. 

He lived with a woman who was in all but name his wife. In 1918 the Buttgereits moved to Cologne and he obtained a Transvestitenschein from the police there. 

His Transvestitenschein

The next year he attempted to legally change his first name to Berthold, and obtained new expert opinions from the Berlin physicians Ernst Burchard and F. Lehmann. A year later, September 1920, the process was still ongoing. In an attempt to speed it up, he submitted his Transvestitenschein, and the application was finally approved. The decision became legally effective with the announcement on 8 November 1920 in the Deutscher Reichsanzeiger and the Preußischer Staatsanzeiger

The public announcement in the Deutscher Reichsanzeiger.

Buttgereit then applied to officially marry his wife of eight years, but the registry office refused based on his birth certificate. Despite being represented by the Berlin lawyer Walther Niemann (who was close to the WhK) he apparently did not succeed. 

Buttgereit lived the rest of his life in Cologne. From 1920-5 he was a bookkeeper, from 1926 - 1942 (through most of the war) he was bookkeeping foreman, and in 1950 he was promoted to office manager. By 1958 he had retired, and he died at the age of 92.

  • Magnus Hirschfeld. Geschlechtskunde, (4th vol.).  Stuttgart : Julius Püttmann, Verlagsbuchhandlung, 1930: 593 (fig. 883, 884).
  • Rainer Herrn. Schnittmuster des Geschlechts. Transvestismus und Transsexualität in der frühen Sexualwissenschaft. Giessen, 2005: 128-131.
  • Erwin In het Panhuis. “Bertha/Berthold (Emma Charlotte) Buttgereit (1891 – 1983) Tragen von Herrenkleidung nicht untersagt”. Lesbengeschichte, 2006. Online.
  • Erwin In het Panhuis. “Queerer Pionier: Als trans Mann offiziell anerkannt vor genau 100 Jahren”.    Online.

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