30th November, 2021 / 12:30 - 13:30
6th March, 2020
Lili Elbe’s life story, published in Copenhagen in 1931, is the first full-length and well-documented narrative of a subject who undergoes genital transformation surgery.
In 1930 Danish artist Einar Wegener underwent a series of surgeries to live as Lili Ilse Elvenes (more commonly known as Lili Elbe). Her life story, Fra Mand til Kvinde (From Man to Woman), published in Copenhagen in 1931, is the first full-length and well-documented narrative of a subject who undergoes genital transformation surgery (Genitalumwandlung). For the past five years we have been creating a comparative scholarly edition of this narrative, which exists in four variant editions in three languages published between 1931 and 1933.
Its digital companion, the Lili Elbe Digital Archive (www.lilielbe.org), was launched on July 6, 2019 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of Magnus Hirschfeld’s Institute for Sexual Science (Institut für Sexualwissenschaft), where Lili Elbe was initially examined. A highly collaborative and ambitious project, the Lili Elbe Digital Archive marks a milestone in the history of gender variance. This talk with present the story of this archive.