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Dr. Károli Mária Kertbeny
(February 28, 1824 - January 23, 1882) Hungary

Karoli Kertenby

Literary man


Karoli KertenbyBorn Karol Maria Benkert in Vienna, he is best known for coining in 1869 the words "heterosexual" and "homosexual". He was not a physician as some have written but a man of letters.

As a young man, while working as a bookseller's apprentice, Benkert had a close friend who was gay. This young man killed himself after being blackmailed by an extortionist.

In 1869, while living in Berlin, anonymously published two pamphlets which criticised the anti-homosexual law codes of the North German confederation. The name Kertbeny is the anagram of his family name.

His analysis, similar to that of Ulrichs, argued that sexual behaviour should be free of interference by the state and homosexual practices should be decriminalised; he thus campained for the removal of infamous Paragraph 143 of the Prussian Penal Code.

Kertbeny himself claimed not to be homosexual. He died in Budapest, supposedly from a syphilitic infection.


Source: excerpts from: Aldrich R. & Wotherspoon G., Who's Who in Gay and Lesbian History, from Antiquity to WWII, Routledge, London, 2001

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