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Hirschfeld had been treating the officer for depression in 1895–96, and the use of the term "us" led to speculation that a relationship existed between the two.

A figure frequently mentioned by Hirschfeld to illustrate the "hell experienced by homosexuals" was Oscar Wilde, who was a well known author in Germany, and whose trials in 1895 had been extensively covered by the German press.

During his visit to Britain, Hirschfeld was invited to a secret ceremony in the English countryside where a "group of beautiful, young, male students" from Cambridge gathered together wearing Wilde's prison number, C33, as a way of symbolically linking his fate to theirs, to read out aloud Wilde's poem The Ballad of Reading Gaol.

The bill was brought before the Reichstag in 1898, but was supported only by a minority from the Social Democratic Party of Germany.

August Bebel, a friend of Hirschfeld from his university days, agreed to sponsor the attempt to repeal Paragraph 175.

As part of his efforts to counter popular prejudice, Hirschfeld spoke out about the taboo subject of suicide and was the first to present statistical evidence that homosexuals were more likely to commit suicide or attempt suicide than heterosexuals.

Hirschfeld prepared questionnaires that gay men could answer anonymously about homosexuality and suicide.Collating his results, Hirschfeld estimated that 3 out of every 100 gays committed suicide every year, that a quarter of gays had attempted suicide at some point in their lives and that the other three-quarters had had suicidal thoughts at some point.He used his evidence to argue that, under current social conditions in Germany, life was literally unbearable for homosexuals.The officer could not even bring himself to use the word "homosexuality", which was instead conspicuously referred to as "that" in his note.However, the officer mentioned at the end of his suicide note: "The thought that you [Hirschfeld] could contribute a future when the German fatherland will think of us in more just terms sweetens the hour of my death".Benedict Friedlaender and some others left the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee and formed another group, the "Bund für männliche Kultur" or Union for Male Culture, which did not exist long.

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