Lecture stormed: beating, spitting, tearing up sheets – queer actions at the university are becoming more and more radical
Demonstrators from the LGBTIQ community twice stormed a lecture at the University of Geneva. This issues criminal charges. Organizations themselves are demanding that the violence be stopped.
- Claudia Blumer
- Bettina Zanni
The presentation by the Paris literature professor Éric Marty on May 17 at the University of Geneva had to be stopped. Activists from the Conférence Universitaire des Associations d’Etudiant.exs (CUAE) hosted the event stormed. According to eyewitness and media reports, there was spitting, beatings, leaves were torn and liquids were poured over those present. They didn’t like the book Marty was presenting – “Le sexe des Modernes”.
Already at the end of April LGBTIQ activists from the Collectif Radical d’Action Queer (CRAQ) disrupted an event on the book “La fabrique de l’enfant transgenre”. It’s about the trend that young people want to change their gender. After the second incident, the rector announced that he would file criminal charges against unknown persons.
«Competition of radicalization»
Lynn Bertholet, President of the Epicène association, which works for the causes of trans people, attended the first event as a listener. The two works discussed are very controversial and eclectic for LGBTIQ people, offensive statements and passages, says Bertholet. “In ‘La fabrique de l’enfant transgenre’, trans people and supporting doctors and organizations are described as a large sect.” And in Eric Marty’s book, the findings of modern gender research are put into perspective and dismantled. The term “hermaphrodite” also occurs there, which means something like “hermaphrodite”.
says Lynn Bertholet: “The discussion about these works must nevertheless be possible. We have strong arguments. It’s not okay to use violence, as was the case, in particular, with the second storming of the lecture on May 17.” The reason that the situation in the canton of Geneva was able to escalate is that both sides have become radicalized in recent months. Parents had taken legal action to prevent the sex reassignment of their almost adult children, and the doctors involved had been denounced. There is a culture war going on.
Bertholet: “These young protesters obviously feel offended and not registered.” That is the reason for the radicalization. “Sometimes it seems to me that a competition of radicalization is taking place.”
Umbrella organization Rainbow Families is alarmed
Others agree with the criticism. Maria von Känel, manager of the umbrella organization of rainbow families, is alarmed. The association rejects any form of violence, she says. LGBTIQ people in particular are likely to be very strongly sensitized to violence, since they have been found to be oppressing all kinds of things in everyday life. “What happened at the University of Geneva doesn’t work at all.” She welcomes the fact that the rector is not just filing criminal charges, which is logical, but also wants to maintain a dialogue with those affected.
“It is now very important that you look and tackle the problem,” says von Känel. First, such incidents have the potential to inflame public sentiment against LGBTIQ people. “It can quickly tip over because such situations are dangerous.” Secondly, it is important to ensure that the situation in Geneva does not escalate further and that the violence does not spread. “You have to act as quickly as possible now and not wait. It is important that a constructive, non-violent dialogue takes place.”
Ueli Mäder, sociologist and conflict researcher, welcomes the fact that the LGBTIQ community, in the spirit of a free society, is fighting against views that they do not share. Creatively rebellious actions are particularly beneficial. Back: “Violence polarizes what hardly serves one’s own cause.” As a result, only violence receives public attention, which is no longer the case with concerns. “Reluctant criticism must be practiced in such a way that it is understood and carried on.”