Out Came the First Coming Out Play
by Laurence Senelick
The Gay & Lesbian Review Worldwide, May-June 2007
“‘Outing’ in our sense comes on stage with the homosexual law-reform movements. In several German plays of the early twentieth century, characters are ‘outed’ involuntarily. From Ludwig Dilsner’s Jasmine Blossoms (1899) to Reinhart Kluge’s Who Is to Blame? (1923), the exposure of the protagonist’s homosexuality is effected by blackmail or vice-squad raids or the maneuvers of jilted lovers. It is a traumatic and embarrassing experience that blights one’s life. The upshot is almost invariably suicide. Although the goal of these plays was to enlighten the general public as to the sorry lot of those with ‘contrary sexual feelings,’ the effect upon the homosexual individual was probably a determination to stay under wraps.
It is therefore surprising to find a play about coming out, in the current sense, on the Dutch stage shortly after the First World War…” [read more]