I Am My Own Woman: The Outlaw Life of Charlotte Von Mahlsdorf, Berlin's Most Distinguished Transvestite

I Am My Own Woman: The Outlaw Life of Charlotte Von Mahlsdorf, Berlin's Most Distinguished Transvestite

by Charlotte von Mahlsdorf

Editorial Reviews

Out Magazine
Move over Quentin Crisp: a naked civil servant is nothing compared with this German boy in a dress.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, born Lothar Berfelde in 1928 in Mahlsdorf, was the son of a benevolent mother and a tyrannical father. At a very early age (seven or eight), he discovered that he liked to wear his mother's old clothes, jauntily noting that ``I still have my mania for aprons.'' His story is not all lightness and lipstick, however. Mahlsdorf recalls being transferred from public to private school after a teacher beat him for making a crack about Hitler Youth. He found a job working after school in an antique furniture store. But then a Jewish co-worker was taken away (``They probably need farm workers in Poland,'' his employer insisted hopefully), and more and more often they began dealing in ``Jewish bequests.'' Mahlsdorf escaped the war and his father by going with his mother, sister and brother to East Prussia, and from there to stay on his aunt's farm, where he was encouraged and nurtured by his lesbian aunt, herself a cross-dresser. Near the end of the war, when he returned to his home village, he killed his violent father during a confrontation and used a precursor of battered women's syndrome as his defense. Mahlsdorf did not slow down a bit in later years. He recalls creating a house-museum almost from scratch, East Germany's underground gay culture, the persecution he suffered from appearing in women's clothing in public and the divisiveness of the Berlin Wall. Although this is nonfiction, I Am My Own Woman reads like a traditional action-adventure storywith a cross-dressing furniture buff as the hero. Photos. (Oct.)

Product Details

Cleis Press
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.53(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.52(d)

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