Stupid Luck and Happenstance, Thread II

Vicky has a problem of being very well known which makes it difficult for her to pursue a relationship that could result in scandal.
While Germany is apparently more tolerant ITTL about homosexuality, it is a different situation when it is an Imperial Princess.
The same sex romantic partners of famous people were described in the press with terms such as "Constant Companion" or " Very Close Personal Friend " which all but outed them without really saying so.
So what Vicky needs is a way to meet others like her in a discrete manner in a safe space where she is assured that her privacy is kept.

I dunno...yes, the Constant Companion/Very Close Personal Friend did out them without saying so, but it also provides a cover too. Quite often, this kind of thing IRL could be an open secret - people knew full well famous people were gay or bi, but as long as they didn't openly say so/kiss in public/whatever and outward propriety was preserved, people would pretend they didn't know.

Same thing could happen to Vicky. As long as she and her 'special friend' don't openly say they're gay or rub it in people's faces, and as long as she's periodically with some man at an event, everyone just doesn't ask any awkward questions and doesn't talk about it. It only becomes an issue if people can't genteelly ignore it anymore, and quite frankly...I mean, how many film stars were quietly gay and nobody guessed? Like, half the movie industry knew Rock Hudson was gay but they just didn't talk about it, and Joe Public was either none the wiser or pretended they were none the wiser until he died.

The other option, of course, is that her family finds her a suitable husband who's also gay, the two of them marry, and once that's the case nobody'll even bat an eyelid that she has a close female friend, because she's married (ditto for her husband and any guy he likes).
 
"Life long friends", "Two confirmed bachelors who share lodgings" and "Dear companions" were also used. Agatha Christie used these sort of euphemisms frequently in her books. Traditionally, lesbian relationships had an extremely slight advantage over those of gay men in most western societies, if only because anti-homosexuality laws tended to focus mainly on men. This meant their relationships could be overlooked a little more easily by society in general. After all, men are capable of all kinds of "depravity", while women were the more gentler and loving half of the species, thus showing affection, even in public, was to be expected. The result of being outed, however, could be worse: both were ostracised, men faced imprisonment for breaking the law & women faced being placed in a lunatic asylum.
 
"Life long friends", "Two confirmed bachelors who share lodgings" and "Dear companions" were also used. Agatha Christie used these sort of euphemisms frequently in her books. Traditionally, lesbian relationships had an extremely slight advantage over those of gay men in most western societies, if only because anti-homosexuality laws tended to focus mainly on men. This meant their relationships could be overlooked a little more easily by society in general. After all, men are capable of all kinds of "depravity", while women were the more gentler and loving half of the species, thus showing affection, even in public, was to be expected. The result of being outed, however, could be worse: both were ostracised, men faced imprisonment for breaking the law & women faced being placed in a lunatic asylum.
A trend also reflected in porn site searches IIRC. "Lesbian" seems to always top the ranks in supposedly "socially conservative" areas.

Marc A
 
"Life long friends", "Two confirmed bachelors who share lodgings" and "Dear companions" were also used. Agatha Christie used these sort of euphemisms frequently in her books.

Indeed.

Traditionally, lesbian relationships had an extremely slight advantage over those of gay men in most western societies, if only because anti-homosexuality laws tended to focus mainly on men. This meant their relationships could be overlooked a little more easily by society in general. After all, men are capable of all kinds of "depravity", while women were the more gentler and loving half of the species, thus showing affection, even in public, was to be expected.

Also true. And there were plenty of cases where it was an open secret. In Ireland, make homosexuality was illegal until the 1990s, but during the 80sthere were a fair few prominent individuals who everybody knew were gay but nothing happened to them. And also, academic institutions frequently protected or turned a blind eye to gay or bi lecturing staff.

Plus, let’s be honest. How rich you were/how rich or important your family was could be a major shield too. A wealthy gay woman would probably face less* problems as a working-class gay man would.

*less, not zero... depended on family, etc.

The result of being outed, however, could be worse: both were ostracised, men faced imprisonment for breaking the law & women faced being placed in a lunatic asylum.

Though if I understand right, it could vary. A man caught in the act would be prosecuted, no ifs or buts. A woman being institutionalised...that’d only happen if her family wanted it, it wouldn’t be automatic.

She’d likely lose her job, of course. And be ostracised...
 

Dan

Kicked
Oh good, I'm not the only one with a huge grin on my face thinking "YES!!! CHRISTOPHER LEE" then?

I don't think he's started acting yet, but give him a meeting with Gerta...
 
With the lack of Nazism, what happened to Magnus Hirschfeld and the Institut für Sexualwissenschaft? Continued, unhindered research there could probably do a lot to foster a more enlightened attitude.
 
It was only very recently that Germany disbanded the illegality of homosexuality also retroactively meaning those who were sentenced in the past are now treated as people who were unjustly prosecuted by the state.

In the 50s and 60s even those gay people who were sent into a KZ In the third Reich were by and large not seen as victims of Hitler because homosexuality was illegal before and after the third Reich.

Early 80s Germany had a large scandal going on when a General was sacked officially because his homosexuality could make him easy prey for foreign intelligence services but in reality just because he was homosexual. Did not go well for the Verteidigungsminister in charge.
 
It was only very recently that Germany disbanded the illegality of homosexuality also retroactively meaning those who were sentenced in the past are now treated as people who were unjustly prosecuted by the state.

In the 50s and 60s even those gay people who were sent into a KZ In the third Reich were by and large not seen as victims of Hitler because homosexuality was illegal before and after the third Reich.

Early 80s Germany had a large scandal going on when a General was sacked officially because his homosexuality could make him easy prey for foreign intelligence services but in reality just because he was homosexual. Did not go well for the Verteidigungsminister in charge.
Forcing LGBTQA+ government employees & military personnel to hide their sexual preferences was what MADE them easy prey for foreign intelligence services. I remember seeing a documentary on homosexuality in the military (roughly 20 years ago?), in which a Swiss Army officer who was openly gay was asked about his being a security risk. He laughed and said "How can they blackmail me for being gay when everybody knows I am? It makes no sense. Now, if I had been forced to hide it..."
 
It was only very recently that Germany disbanded the illegality of homosexuality also retroactively meaning those who were sentenced in the past are now treated as people who were unjustly prosecuted by the state.

According to Wikipedia: '68 in the GDR; '69 in the Bonn Republic - that correct?

Also, as I understand it, it was only actually illegal for men - like in Britain and other countries, being a lesbian wasn't actually illegal (though it could lead to societal disapproval, ostracisation, loss of employment, being committed if your family wanted...)
 
Halfway 68 was just the reduction of 175 so it was no longer illegal but if you were convicted according to it your criminal record would still show it and there were a lot of professions you could not go into due to that. That was changed 2017 and retroactively all verdicts were canceled.

And yes, only for men.
 
Part 104, Chapter 1686
Chapter One Thousand Six Hundred Eighty-Six



13th June 1965

Jena

As she sat on the hard, uncomfortable church pew there were times when Vicky envied her sisters’ choices when it came to religion. Kiki had stuck with being Russian Orthodox and they typically stood for services. Rea had publicly declared herself to be Agnostic and typically slept in until noon on Sunday mornings. Hardly a surprise considering that Rea was studying Philosophy.

The thought of Rea was a bit painful for Vicky. They had shared nearly everything for the first fifteen years of their lives as identical twins. Then there had come the profound rupture in their relationship and Vicky hadn’t understood what had happened or why Rea remained so angry with her until recently. She was taking Human Psychology courses at University and her Professors had insisted that Vicky needed to undergo Psychoanalysis herself as a part of that. Considering that her interest in that subject came from wanting to understand herself, it wasn’t something that Vicky had objected to. The resulting self-reflection had forced Vicky to admit a few things about herself and her relationship with Rea. Like how Rea was angry about how she had basically thrown her to the wolves at a time when Rea had needed her the most. Now, they led entirely different lives, attended different Universities in different cities and it was something that Vicky found painful.

While Vicky had avoided talking about her sexuality to her Analyst, he had implied that he suspected that something was going on. He had said that his impression was that she didn’t entirely trust him. It was the elephant in the room like always and it was something that only a few people in her family knew about. So far, they had proven to be worthy of the trust that Vicky had put in them. Vicky was aware of Paragraph 175 of the penal code, how that equated homosexuality with bestiality. Fortunately for those like her, the men who had written the law nearly a century earlier had lacked the imagination to include women. However, Charlotte had warned her that there was considerable danger from those who might consider her a sexually deviant even if she had never acted on it and there was also the public reaction to consider. Charlotte said that she only needed to ask Frau Lawniczak about what had happened to her in the United States to get an idea of how things could go horribly wrong.

The Mistress of Keys was one of the most powerful women in the Empire and she had lived her life on her own terms, but there had been a brutal episode where she had nearly come to grief because of it when she had been a Field Agent in the United States. She was also everything that Vicky wished she could be, except for the whole complicated mess that Asia had gotten herself when she had her son Heinrich. Vicky’s father had decided that because Heinrich’s father acknowledged his paternity, he was the legal heir if he was deemed suitable upon attaining majority at the age of twenty-one. The rub was that the wife of Heinrich’s father never having to see or hear about him, ever. The alternative was to let a family line die out, so even Vicky realized that her father didn’t have a lot of choice in the matter. It also made Grossherzog von Hessen completely beholden to the house of Hohenzollern at a difficult time, so the move made perfect sense from the perspective of cold-blooded realpolitik.

Thinking about Asia, stirred something else in Vicky. It was the aspect of herself that she was still struggling to come to terms with over the last couple years. The fact that Vicky had realized that she had a type, one that was filled by women who flouted all the rules that would restrain them. It was also why she was attracted to Marcella, Kiki’s best friend. Both of those women had noticed that attraction and had completely different reactions. Asia had let her know she thought Vicky’s interest was sweet and had then told her that she would be happier playing with someone her own age. Zella had clumsily told her that she wasn’t a part of that scene, whatever that meant, and had done her best to let Vicky down gently. It had been Kiki who had put it in perspective for her by mentioning that an older woman had once told her that a regrettable part of being a… Vicky still couldn’t bring herself to use that word, even in her own thoughts. The regrettable part was that there would probably be many times that she would find herself barking up the wrong tree. It wasn’t regrettable so much as it left her with lingering questions. Like how exactly had Vicky ended up wired to want to go looking for that sort of tree in the first place? It certainly complicated almost every aspect of her life.

The worst part was that it all seemed to revolve around something else that Vicky envied Kiki for, the relationship with Ben Hirsh that seemed mutually supportive. Why couldn’t she have something like that? It was completely unfair that her sister could seem to throw all caution to the wind because of who she was doing it with.

“I hope that you found this morning’s service edifying, I’ve observed how deep you were in contemplation” The Pastor said as he approached her, “It is nice to see a young woman of your stature taking such matters seriously.”

“Thank you” Vicky replied awkwardly having no idea what he was talking about, hoping that he wouldn’t ask her anything regarding what he had said over the prior hour or what she thought. She had been so wrapped up in her own thoughts that she had hardly listened to any of it.
 
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The worst part was that it all seemed to revolve around something else that Vicky envied Kiki for, the relationship with Ben Hersh that seemed mutually supportive. Why couldn’t she have something like that? It was completely unfair that her sister could seem to throw all caution to the wind because of who she was doing it with.

I thought his name was Ben(jamin) Hirsch?
Typo?
 
Chapter One Thousand Six Hundred Eighty-Six



13th June 1965

Jena

As she sat on the hard, uncomfortable church pew there were times when Vicky envied her sisters’ choices when it came to religion. Kiki had stuck with being Russian Orthodox and they typically stood for services. Rea had publicly declared herself to be Agnostic and typically slept in until noon on Sunday mornings. Hardly a surprise considering that Rea was studying Philosophy.

The thought of Rea was a bit painful for Vicky. They had shared nearly everything for the first fifteen years of their lives as identical twins. Then there had come the profound rupture in their relationship and Vicky hadn’t understood what had happened or why Rea remained so angry with her until recently. She was taking Human Psychology courses at University and her Professors had insisted that Vicky needed to undergo Psychoanalysis herself as a part of that. Considering that her interest in that subject came from wanting to understand herself, it wasn’t something that Vicky had objected to. The resulting self-reflection had forces Vicky to admit a few things about herself and her relationship with Rea. Like how Rea was angry about how she had basically thrown her to the wolves at a time when Rea had needed her the most. Now, they led entirely different lives, attended different Universities in different cities and it was something that Vicky found painful.

While Vicky had avoided talking about her sexuality to her Analyst, he had implied that he suspected that something was going on. He had said that his impression was that she didn’t entirely trust him. It was the elephant in the room like always and it was something that only a few people in her family knew about. So far, they had proven to be worthy of the trust that Vicky had put in them. Vicky was aware of Paragraph 175 of the penal code, how that equated homosexuality with bestiality. Fortunately for those like her, the men who had written the law nearly a century earlier had lacked the imagination to include women. However, Charlotte had warned her that there was considerable danger from those who might consider her a sexually deviant even if she had never acted on it and there was also the public reaction to consider. Charlotte said that she only needed to ask Frau Lawniczak about what had happened to her in the United States to get an idea of how things could go horribly wrong.

The Mistress of Keys was one of the most powerful women in the Empire and she had lived her life on her own terms, but there had been a brutal episode where she had nearly come to grief because of it when she had been a Field Agent in the United States. She was also everything that Vicky wished she could be, except for the whole complicated mess that Asia had gotten herself when she had her son Heinrich. Vicky’s father had decided that because Heinrich’s father acknowledged his paternity, he was the legal heir if he was deemed suitable upon attaining majority at the age of twenty-one. The rub was that the wife of Heinrich’s father never having to see or hear about him, ever. The alternative was to let a family line die out, so even Vicky realized that her father didn’t have a lot of choice in the matter. It also made Grossherzog von Hessen completely beholden to the house of Hohenzollern at a difficult time, so the move made perfect sense from the perspective of cold-blooded realpolitik.

Thinking about Asia, stirred something else in Vicky. It was the aspect of herself that she was still struggling to come to terms with over the last couple years. The fact that Vicky had realized that she had a type, one that was filled by women who flouted all the rules that would restrain them. It was also why she was attracted to Marcella, Kiki’s best friend. Both of those women had noticed that attraction and had completely different reactions. Asia had let her know she thought Vicky’s interest was sweet and had then told her that she would be happier playing with someone her own age. Zella had clumsily told her that she wasn’t a part of that scene, whatever that meant, and had done her best to let Vicky down gently. It had been Kiki who had put it in perspective for her by mentioning that an older woman had once told her that a regrettable part of being a… Vicky still couldn’t bring herself to use that word, even in her own thoughts. The regrettable part was that there would probably be many times that she would find herself barking up the wrong tree. It wasn’t regrettable so much as it left her with lingering questions. Like how exactly had Vicky ended up wired to want to go looking for that sort of tree in the first place? It certainly complicated almost every aspect of her life.

The worst part was that it all seemed to revolve around something else that Vicky envied Kiki for, the relationship with Ben Hirsh that seemed mutually supportive. Why couldn’t she have something like that? It was completely unfair that her sister could seem to throw all caution to the wind because of who she was doing it with.

“I hope that you found this morning’s service edifying, I’ve observed how deep you were in contemplation” The Pastor said as he approached her, “It is nice to see a young woman of your stature taking such matters seriously.”

“Thank you” Vicky replied awkwardly having no idea what he was talking about, hoping that he wouldn’t ask her anything regarding what he had said over the prior hour or what she thought. She had been so wrapped up in her own thoughts that she had hardly listened to any of it.
In the past interests of possibilities do we know this Pastor?
 
Part 104, Chapter 1687
Chapter One Thousand Six Hundred Eighty-Seven



22nd June 1965

Kiel

The experience was unsettling. Albrecht could see that Admiral Jacob von Schmidt seemed to be a shriveled remnant of what he had once been, it was the vacant expression on his face though that was the worst aspect. It was clear that his mind was completely gone along with everything that had made the Admiral who he had been in life. The trouble was that even in this state, Jacob remained every bit of the security risk that he had been throughout his life because no one knew what secrets remained locked in his head and could spill out at any time. The joke that flew around the offices of the Ministry of the Navy while Albrecht had worked there suggested that if Jacob ever did spill the beans, a lot of the senior Brass would be dragged out in handcuffs. Not that they would need to worry about a trial because a few minutes later nuclear tipped missiles fired by one of the many countries that Jacob had manipulated or antagonized would arrive…

That meant that his attendants had to be carefully screened to weed out anyone with a possible connection to a foreign intelligence service. The other consideration was that Jacob’s language skills had gone with his mind. These days he only seemed to remember Hebrew or Yiddish during his more lucid moments and that made finding attendants even more daunting.

It was Esther who Albrecht really felt sorry for though. She had stuck with Jacob through decades of marriage, raised two daughters and pursued her own career ambitions as a Civil Servant. Now in retirement, she helped care for a husband who had regressed to early childhood and no longer even recognized her. Albrecht remembered the conversation he’d had with the Admiral after the initial diagnosis. It had been his concern about what would happen to Esther that had prevented him from putting a bullet through his head, sparing him from this fate.

When he entered the room, Jacob muttered something that Albrecht didn’t understand to Esther who just smiled.

“He said that he always loved the sea and asked why a Kapitän would call on us” Esther said.

It was odd. The Admiral seemed to have forgotten nearly everything else, but he had instantly recognized that Albrecht was wearing the uniform of a Kapitän zur See.

“I came to tell him about the Taxidiotis Project and how Wernher von Braun is trying to build rocket engines powerful enough to make his dreams reality but they keep blowing up during testing” Albrecht said, “The Admiral would have been delighted to hear that.”

With the Space Center in Vietnam open again because an alternate overland route had been established, Taxidiotis was moving full speed ahead. Albrecht, who had been on the short list to take Command of an Aircraft Carrier had instead been reassigned to oversee the final implementation of the program. That included lighting a fire under van Braun, whose division had been soaking up money and had little to show for it except having found one of the most expensive ways ever devised to turn metal, graphite and ceramic components into shrapnel. When Jacob had been the Head of the ESA, he had frequently butted heads with von Braun over budgets and results.

“The games that boys play” Esther said with a touch of condemnation, but also with wistfulness as well because it reminded her of happier times.



Mitte, Berlin

Three written exams and one oral. All with incredibly high stakes involved and to Manfred as well as most of his Professors, he had passed all of it. “You have a bright future ahead of you Herr von Mischner” The Headmaster said when he found Manfred in the hallway outside the lecture hall where several of the students had been killing time while they waited for the results. “Try not to mess it up.”

That was as close to praise as Manfred had gotten from the Headmaster of the gymnasium over the previous seven years. Mostly he had gotten stern disapproval over being a far less than diligent student and some to the things that he had gotten into with his friends from time to time.

As it had turned out, his parents were less than thrilled by the news when he got home. “We can’t exactly tell you what to do anymore, our hope is that you will listen to what we have to say” Was what his father had said, “Just please think before you make any decisions.” His mother was a bit more direct. She didn’t yell this time though, instead she handed him a stack of catalogs outlining various University programs with a note on top that read; If you do nothing else, try to get this one right.

As much as Manfred understood his parent’s concerns, he wished that they weren’t pushing him so hard in the direction that they wanted. He left the house and was walking randomly an any direction on the streets of his neighborhood. It was only by coincidence that he found himself walking on the street where Suse Rosa lived. Looking up, he saw her looking down at him from one of the upstairs windows. Feeling obligated, Manfred knocked on the door. When the Butler opened the door, Suse pushed around him and was happy to see him.

“I heard when Momma talked to Aunt Helene just now” Suse said excitedly. “We did it, didn’t we?”

“Yes” Manfred replied, he had no idea how to explain this to Suse.
 
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