The word garçonne is derived from the French word for "boy" (garçon) with the addition of a feminine suffix; its closest English translation is "tomboy". After the publication of Margueritte's novel, the term came into popular use as a descriptor for flappers, women who wore masculine clothing, and lesbians. According to Marsha Meskimmon, the relaunch of Frauenliebe as Garçonne, "the more modish title", provided the magazine with a more marketable title that functioned as "a common currency as a lesbian type".
Frauenliebe was established in Berlin in 1926 and its first issue was published on 9 June 1926. It was advertised with the description "Weekly for friendship, love and sexual enlightenment".[nb 1] At the time, it was one of three lesbian periodicals published in Berlin, alongside Die Freundin and Selli Engler's Die BIF – Blätter Idealer Frauenfreundschaften. Its target audience included lesbians and heterosexual male transvestites. Frauenliebe and Garçonne, as the competing Freundin have been published, often edited and even partly written by men, as they were part of the male dominated homosexual movement of the 1920s and 1930s, who saw lesbian women as a possible supportive force in their fight. The only independent magazine, where only women were in charge, was the short-lived Die BIF. Writer Ruth Margarete Roellig started working as a journalist at Frauenliebe in 1927.
Frauenliebe was shut down for a time in 1928 by legal authorities, who were unable to name homosexual content as offensive under a law that prohibited "trashy and obscene" literature, but deemed that the "literary portion of the issues is worthless" and the advertisements that "facilitate sexual relationships [have] to be seen as obscene in the sense of the law". In 1930, the magazine's editors changed the name from Frauenliebe to Garçonne to avoid legal troubles.
The first issue of the magazine printed under the new title of Garçonne was published on 15 October 1930. In addition to works of fiction and short stories, the magazine published lesbian-related news and opinion pieces from Germany and neighbouring countries; a 1931 article about the lack of lesbian organisations and publications in Switzerland led to the formation of the Swiss lesbian group Amicitia. Its issues contained ongoing debate about the nature of lesbianism and echoed the popular views of sexologists at the time that homosexuality was a form of natural biological variation. Although it was printed and distributed in Berlin, and focused mainly on Berlin's lesbian scene, it was accessible by subscription in regional areas of Germany where there was no local lesbian subculture. One reader from Görlitz submitted a letter to Garçonne in 1931 declaring that "this paper means everything to me", while another from Karlsruhe reported that "I cannot any longer do without this magazine".
Garçonne ceased publication in 1932.
- Summers, Claude J. (2014). Gay and Lesbian Literary Heritage. Routledge. ISBN 9781135303990.
- Meskimmon, Marsha (1999). We Weren't Modern Enough: Women Artists and the Limits of German Modernism. University of California Press. p. 206. ISBN 9780520221345.
- Karaminas, Vicki (2013). Queer Style. A & C Black. p. 173. ISBN 9781847887368.
- "Frauenliebe". University of Wisconsin–Madison Libraries. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
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- Aldrich, Robert; Wotherspoon, Garry (7 October 2020). Who's Who in Gay and Lesbian History: From Antiquity to the Mid-Twentieth Century. London, UK: Routledge. p. 445. ISBN 978-1-000-15888-5.
- Rupp, Leila J. (2009). Sapphistries: A Global History of Love between Women. New York University Press. p. 195. ISBN 9780814776445.
- "Garçonne = Junggesellin". University of Wisconsin–Madison Libraries. Retrieved 22 July 2014.
- Clark, Anna (2012). Desire: A History of European Sexuality. Routledge. p. 173. ISBN 9781135762919.
- Sutton, Katie (2013). The Masculine Woman in Weimar Germany. Berghahn Books. p. 154. ISBN 9781782381068.
- Original German: Wochenschrift für Freundschaft, Liebe und sexuelle Aufklärung.