Lindsay Kemp (centre) and Jack Birkett, The Incredible Orlando (right)
Lindsay Kemp on Jack Birkett- ”Jack was Judy to my Mr Punch, Harlequin to my Pierrot, Titania to my Puck, Herodias to my Salomé, Queen of Hearts to my Lewis Carroll. We shared flats, dressing rooms, boyfriends, bills, good times and bad times, success and failure; a couple of extravagant young dreamers, a couple of aching elders, always entertainers.”
Sing if you’re glad to be gay Sing if you’re happy that way
And sit back and watch as they close down our clubs Arrest us for meeting and raid all our pubs Make sure your boyfriend’s at least 21 And if you’re a lesbian don’t be a mum Lie to your workmates, lie to your folks Put down the queens and tell anti-queer jokes Gay Lib’s ridiculous, join their laughter ‘The buggers are legal now, what more are they after?’
“The idyllic gay portrait of dapper German officers in capes and peaked caps transfixed by demure Line-Boys (teenage male prostitutes that worked Berlin’s fancy hotel lobbies, gay clubs, and bars in the Tiergarten in gangs of 4 or 5) on Tiergarten benches disappeared from view in 1919. It was beggars who retained the combat dress of the defeated army. Berlin’s gay community at the beginning of Weimar adopted a different wardrobe, the sailor’s blouse and cap (alongside the tailored morning-coat of the perfumed dandy). In homosexual Dielen, middle-aged Sugar-Lickers (nighttime gay patrons), Coolies (older Gymnasium or university students who hired Line-Boys and frequently claimed to be straight), Doll-Boys (youngest and penniless gay hustlers that worked solely for food, lodging and cigarettes), even crotchety waiters wore the crisp blue-and-white insignia of jaunty marines on shore leave. The change of uniform had various meanings. Partly, it was a matter of identification - straights didn’t wear them - and they were a Wilhelmian echo of adolescent androgyny. More significantly, Berlin’s core homosexual community had expanded beyond the units of the Potsdam garrison.”
-Mel Gordon, Voluptuous Panic: The Erotic World of Weimar Berlin.