Karl Ulrichs p12 (1825-1895)

“One of the earliest campaigns for gay rights occurred in the nineteenth century, in Germany. Born in 1825, Karl Ulrichs was a German writer who became the first openly queer person to speak publicly in support of gay men. Unusually for the time, Ulrichs had been very honest about his attraction to other men for many years. He worked hard to change the attitudes of society toward people like him, and has become known as one of the earliest queer activists.

Today, words like trans, bi, or gay are well-known, but in the late 1800s there weren’t any words that queer people could use to describe themselves… Ulrichs tired to change that by inventing a new [positive] vocabulary to describe queer people… While Ulrichs’ words have gone out of fashion and are seldom used today, they represent a queer person tried to name themselves in a a positive way – a very powerful things to do.”


Karl Ulrich deeply understood the power our names for ourselves and our names for one another can hold. What does this stir up in you? Is there a negative name you’ve been calling yourself? Someone else? May we let those negative names fall away and instead listen to what God calls us: wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14), chosen + full of light (1 Peter 2:9), made for a purpose (Ephesians 2:10), a precious child of God (John 1:12), loved forever and always (Jeremiah 31:3).

[Excerpt from Rainbow Revolutions: Power, Pride, and Protest in the Fight for Queer Rights by Jamie Lawson and Eve Lloyd Knight | @evelloydknight