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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.

It argued that male-male love is an aspect of virile manliness, rather than a special condition.

The group aimed to undertake research to defend the rights of homosexuals and to repeal Paragraph 175, the section of the German penal code that, since 1871, had criminalized homosexuality. The motto of the Committee, "Justice through science", reflected Hirschfeld's belief that a better scientific understanding of homosexuality would eliminate social hostility toward homosexuals.

Within the group, some of the members rejected Hirschfeld's (and Ulrichs's) view that male homosexuals are, by nature, effeminate.

It was in 1896, after talking to the people displayed in the "human zoos" at the Grosse Berliner Gewerbeastellung, that Hirschfeld began writing what became his 1914 book Die Homosexualität des Mannes und des Weibes ("The Homosexuality of Men & Women"), an attempt to comprehensively survey homosexuality around the globe, as part of an effort to prove that homosexuality occurred in every culture.

After several years as a general practitioner in Magdeburg, in 1896 he issued a pamphlet, Sappho and Socrates, on homosexual love (under the pseudonym Th. In 1897, Hirschfeld founded the Scientific Humanitarian Committee with the publisher Max Spohr, the lawyer Eduard Oberg, and the writer Franz Joseph von Bülow.

Hirschfeld considered what would, in a later era, be described as "outing": forcing out of the closet some of the prominent and secretly homosexual lawmakers who had remained silent on the bill.

An outspoken advocate for sexual minorities, Hirschfeld founded the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee.In particular, Hirschfeld mentioned as a reason for his gay rights activism, the story of one of his patients: a young Army officer suffering from depression, who killed himself in 1896, leaving behind a suicide note saying, despite his best efforts, he could not end his desires for other men, and so had ended his life out of his guilt and shame.In his suicide note, the officer wrote that he lacked the "strength" to tell his parents the "truth", and spoke of his shame of "that which nearly strangled my heart".Hirschfeld first became interested in gay rights when he noticed that many of his gay patients were committing suicide.In the German language, the word for suicide is Selbstmord ("self-murder"), which carried more judgemental and condemnatory connotations than its English language equivalent, making the subject of suicide a taboo in 19th century Germany.

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Historian Dustin Goltz characterized this group as having carried out "the first advocacy for homosexual and transgender rights".