A civil rights pioneer and a human rights advocate
The Foundation is named after the German physician, sexologist, sexual reformer and civil rights activist Dr Magnus Hirschfeld (1868-1935) and the prominent lesbian human rights activist Fannyann Eddy (1974-2004) from Sierra Leone, who was murdered in 2004.
The combination of the names of the founding father of the gay rights movement in Germany and the modern-day human rights activist from Africa is intended to reflect that the struggle for the human rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people began in Europe but is now being waged in every continent of the world. It is a global issue which concerns universal principles. The work which began in 1897 with Magnus Hirschfeld, who established the world's first homosexual rights organization, is now being carried forward by countless people on every continent - often at great personal risk. The Hirschfeld-Eddy Foundation also aims to raise awareness of, and counteract, this threat to human rights advocates through international publicity campaigns. The name of Fannyann Eddy symbolizes this brave dangerous struggle against oppression which often puts the lives of those involved at risk.
Magnus Hirschfeld died in exile in France in 1935. By that time, the Nazis had destroyed the life's work of this Jewish gay rights advocate and researcher and were embarking on a persecution campaign against gays which would be without historical parallel. In light of its history, we believe that Germany has a special responsibility to lobby internationally for the human rights of lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people. Here too, the Hirschfeld-Eddy Foundation seeks to make a contribution.
Fannyann Eddy was one of the most significant voices of lesbians and gays in the global South. The brutal murder of this courageous activist came as a great shock. Violent homophobes aim to intimidate all lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people and deny them a voice. With the Foundation, we want to send out a clear signal against such violations.