On this Tuesday 17 May, the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, I would like to give here the floor to Professor Liliane Michalik, Vice-Rector of "Equality, Diversity and Careers", to explain our point of view on this topic.
"The exclusion of people considered as "out of place" by a society that is still very normative is an issue that touches me. Discrimination based on affective and sexual identity is a source of deep suffering for the individuals concerned, and has serious consequences for their integrity, their health and their professional careers. The University of Lausanne must be able to offer everyone an inclusive environment that respects diversity and the singularity of individual life paths. However, it is clear that Swiss institutions are lagging behind. Although marriage for all was validated by the Swiss voters on 26 September, mentalities are still struggling to evolve as quickly as the civil code, and many LGBTIQ+ people still feel that it is difficult to talk about their difference and to be themselves on a daily basis, simply, without fear or make-believe.
For this reason, the Rectorate of the University of Lausanne has decided to take advantage of this international day to take a clear stand against discrimination of any kind suffered by homosexual, transsexual or bisexual people. As shown in its new plan of intentions, it now wishes to work both on the ground through concrete prevention and awareness-raising measures aimed at making the UNIL campus a "positive space" that is identified as such, and with the LGBTIQ+ community in order to free speech and to allow everyone to feel welcomed and at ease with their specificities.
Of course, this is a long term work, in which we are all invited to participate by showing day after day kindness, listening and solidarity. However, this 17th of May gives us the opportunity to mark the spirits with several symbolic actions: indeed, and this is a first, UNIL has decided to raise three rainbow flags on the Dorigny campus. The university's logo will also be displayed in LGBTIQ+ colours throughout the week and will be made available to UNIL members for future thematic communications. Finally, the Office of Equality and the PlanQueer association will distribute badges produced for the occasion at the entrance of the Unithèque and answer questions or particular requests.
Although these drops of water may seem insignificant in the face of the ocean of sometimes painful, often invisible experiences of the people concerned, we feel it is essential to display the Rectorate's official support for the fight against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia in a public space today. In this way, we hope to contribute to sending a clear message: inequalities and violence against the LGBTIQ+ community (or fuelled by any other social differentiation such as gender or ethnicity) have no place at the University of Lausanne."