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Laurie Marhoefer

(he/him or they/them)
Professor of History, University of Washington

I am a historian of queer and trans people in Weimar and Nazi Germany. My work has been influential in international discussions of trans and lesbian persecution in Nazi Germany.

My new book, "Racism and the Making of Gay Rights: A Sexologist, his Student, and the Empire of Queer Love," chronicles the world journey of Li Shiu Tong and Magnus Hirschfeld, showing how racism, eugenics, and other disturbing ideas formed the foundation of modern gay rights, and how yet, it did not have to be that way. A double biography of Li and Hirschfeld, it is the first extended examination of Li's life and of his own sexology, which ditched his mentor's core ideas.

"Sex and the Weimar Republic: German Homosexual Emancipation and the Rise of the Nazis" (2015) reexamines the gay and trans rights movements of the 1920s, which were the world's first, and asks what they had to do with fascism. I also write for the national press on things like neo-Nazism, queer fascism, and the history of AIDS. If you're interested, Ben Miller's interview on Bad Gays is a good overview of some of my work.

My book-in-progress, tentatively titled "Crimes Against Nature and Crimes Against Humanity," is a history of queer and/or trans people in Nazi Germany and Austria and Nazi-occupied Europe that considers women as well as men and trans as well as cis people and centrally analyzes racism as a vector of persecution.

I'm affiliated with the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies (check out the Jewish Questions podcast) and the Department of Germanics. I co-teach a class on the global history of AIDS with Lynn M. Thomas. Before UW I had gigs at the Jackman Humanities Institute at the University of Toronto, the University of Oxford, and Syracuse University.


  • –present
    Assistant Professor of History , University of Washington


  • 2008 
    Rutgers/New Brunswick, PhD