MIL-OSI Translation: Study of discrimination against homosexuals in the Swiss Army

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MIL OSI Translation. Government of the Republic of France statements from French to English –

Source: Switzerland – Department of Foreign Affairs in French

Defense Group

Bern, 06.13.2024 – Have homosexual people suffered harm in the past in the Swiss Army? This is the question posed by a postulate from national advisor Priska Seiler Graf accepted in 2022. In order to answer it, the Swiss Army has entrusted the mandate to write an independent scientific report to a research group from the University of Bern. This is the first official mandate in Switzerland to study the discrimination suffered by homosexual people from a historical perspective.

The postulate tabled in 2021 by Priska Seiler Graf, National Councilor and member of the Security Policy Commission, instructs the Federal Council to present a report on the possible harm that homosexual people may have suffered within the Swiss Army. The Federal Council has proposed accepting the postulate. The National Council adopted it in 2022. Viola Amherd, President of the Confederation and Head of the Federal Department of Defence, Civil Protection and Sports DDPS, as well as the Army support this study. Following a public tender procedure, the Army commissioned the University of Bern to prepare an independent research report. This work will be carried out by a research group from the Interdisciplinary Center for Gender Studies IZFG at the University of Bern.

This is the first official mandate from the Confederation to study from a historical perspective the discrimination suffered by homosexual people in Switzerland. “With this study, Switzerland, like Germany, joins international efforts aimed at recognizing discrimination against homosexual people within the armed forces,” underlines sociology professor Michèle Amacker, co-director of the Interdisciplinary Center for Studies. gender IZFG and project manager.

The focus will also be on possible repairs

Over the next four years, the research team will study whether and to what extent homosexuals or perceived homosexuals have suffered harm within the Swiss Army between the Second World War and today, as well as repercussions that this may have had for the people concerned. This study must also examine the question of the relevance of possible repairs. The report must finally propose recommendations for a better reception of sexual and gender diversity in the Army.

Little precise knowledge about the treatment of homosexuality by the Army

The Army’s relationship with homosexuality has so far been little studied. “For the period in question, we have little reliable knowledge,” confides Michèle Amacker. What is certain is that according to the Military Penal Code, homosexual acts were punishable until 1992. Military law was therefore at odds with the Swiss Penal Code which had legalized sexual acts. between consenting adults of the same sex since 1942.

“There are indications of harassment and attacks in daily life in the Army, exclusion of homosexual people during recruitment, as well as possible obstacles to military careers,” continues Michèle Amacker. Codes would also have been used at different periods to indicate the homosexuality of certain people, for example as justification for incapacity in the service record. Such administrative procedures may have had negative repercussions on the private lives and professional careers of the people concerned, particularly when the service record book was required when applying. “We must follow all these leads and, if necessary, prove these incidents and examine the psychological, legal, social and economic repercussions that they may have had on the people concerned,” confides Michèle Amacker.

Survey of those affected at the center of the study

It is currently difficult to assess what this study will reveal. Many documents have been destroyed because their retention period has expired and others are not accessible. Certain information was also not recorded or in coded form due to the taboo surrounding the topic. In addition to examining the archives, the interdisciplinary team will carry out a vast survey of the people concerned. “This investigation is essential for us. Only if the people involved agree to tell their story can we achieve a comprehensive understanding of what happened,” explains Michèle Amacker. Every incident deserves our attention, from everyday derogatory remarks to harassment, violence, discrimination during recruitment or refusal of advancement. Michèle Amacker specifies: “Our objective is to provide as faithful and complete an image as possible of the relationship between the Army and homosexuality. We are therefore also interested in the testimonies of homosexual people who have not had any negative experiences during their military service. »

Address for sending questions

Prof. Dr. Michèle Amacker, Interdisciplinary Center for Gender Studies, University of Bern 41 31 684 52

Dr. Tina Büchler, Interdisciplinary Center for Gender Studies, University of Bern 41 31 684 46

Lic.phil. Corinne Rufli, Interdisciplinary Center for Gender Studies, University of


Defense Group

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and/or sentence structure not be perfect.

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