The in-house magazine interviewed us on queer life at ETH. When we pointed out rampant discrimination, they killed the piece.
We – queer*z – are a small student organisation at the ETH and the University of Zürich. We advocate for more measures to tackle discriminatory practices against trans students and staff. We’ve had a few successes so far, but much remains to be done.
The ETH’s in-house publication «life Magazine» recently asked to interview us for a piece on diversity and queer student life at ETH. Grateful for public interest in our work, we agreed to the interview and answered their many questions. We told them of the discrimination and barriers we trans people face at ETH. We also shared what measures we think are necessary to combat this.
A while later, the editors informed us they would not print our answers in the final piece, as our words didn’t «add anything constructive to the discourse.»
Clearly, the ETH would like to parade us trans people around as mascots of diversity. A short, palatable quote to show how diverse and inclusive the ETH is? Yes. Trans people pointing out structural discrimination and advocating for their own rights? Not so much.
We’re people with voices. Listen to us!
According to the ETH, inclusion means making diversity normal. We disagree. Diversity is a fact, and it doesn’t need to be normal. Not everyone conforms to the norm, and that’s okay.
Real inclusion is much more: Getting rid of discriminatory structures. And there’s plenty of those: Trans and non-binary people still don’t have reliable access to gender neutral restrooms at ETH and we’re denied gender neutral student IDs. According to the latest student wellbeing survey, we get misgendered by other students and staff constantly, and not much is being done to change that. All of this is discrimination the ETH tolerates and perpetuates.
As long as the ETH ignores our realities, we will not play along with their PR nonsense. Inclusion isn’t a simple commitment to love and harmony. It requires us all to realise that some people are more privileged than others. It requires hard work to be done on the part of the ETH as an institution to tackle structural discrimination against marginalised students and staff.
We call on the ETH to finally listen to trans students and faculty and implement quick and effective measures to combat the discrimination we face daily.