LGBTQ+ History Month: Dora “Dörchen” Richter

Dora “Dörchen” Richter was the first known person to undergo complete male-to-female gender reassignment surgery. Richter was born in 1891, named Rudolph, and raised as male. Using the name Dora, she began wearing women’s clothing and presenting as female to the extent she could, working under her birth name during the summer, then living as female the remainder of the year. She was arrested Multiple times for cross-dressing, and served time in prison before being released into the care of sex-research pioneer Magnus Hirschfeld at Berlin’s Institute for Sexual Research.

With special permission from the police to wear women’s clothing, Richter worked with other transgender people as a domestic servant at the Institute, where she was affectionately known as Dörchen.

She underwent her first surgery In 1922 and her second in June 1931, and was the first transgender woman to undergo such surgery of whom records remain.

In May 1933, a mob attacked the Institute, and burned its records. No later information about Richter has been found.

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