|The term "transvestite" was coined by Hirschfeld. He defined "tranvestitism" as follows:
"It is the urge to present and conduct oneself in the outer raiment of the sex to which a person does not belong-as regards the visible sexual organs." (Hirschfeld 1918).
Contrary to pevailing psychiatric and psychoanalytic views, Hirschfeld insisted that the cross-dress drive was not merely a form of homosexuality. According to his studies, there were roughly the same number of heterosexual 1 and homosexual transvestites 4 . Both homosexuals and transvestites revealed diverse characteristic types which could only be explained "glandularly (= caused by ductless glands)".
Having established that dress was of vital importance to the physical and mental well-being of transvestites, Hirschfeld raised the question "whether the physician was not more than justified in consenting to a change of dress - in fact, it was his duty to order such a change."
Together with the lawyer Walther Niemann, he made all efforts to have the wish for a change of name fulfilled. In the early 20s, male and female transvestites were permitted by the authorities to have their first names changed to gender-neutral names - e.g. Alex, Toni or Gert.
Institute staff members, too, contributed much to having "transvestite certificates" introduced and recognized by the Police. These certificates were to safeguard transvestites against arrest.
Hirschfeld supported transvestites against the prevailing therapeutic approaches (Adaption Therapy). He attempted to transform the bodies of transvestites in the desired direction by injecting organ preparations (testicle or ovary extracts).(Rudolph R./Dorchen)
At the end of the 20s, Felix Abraham, an Institute colleague, reported on the first operative genital changes carried out, assisted by Ludwig Levy-Lenz 7 8 9 .
As a rule, there was a succession of steps leading to a sex-change: change of name, transvestite certificate, operation.