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LGBTIQ+ in the context of higher education institutions and transnational solidarity

4 May 2022

Film screening “My Child” by Can Candan and Panel Discussion

When children have their coming out how do parents react? What do they feel and how do they cope with a situation that is still not the norm in most societies? In his internationally acclaimed documentary “My Child”, filmmaker and academic Can Candan features a group of parents of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender individuals in Turkey on their journey to redefine parenthood in a conservative and homophobic society and mobilize for equal rights and acknowledgement for the LGBTIQ+ community.


Parts of “My Child” by Can Candan will be screened followed by a panel discussion. Panelists will discuss the situation of LGBTIQ+ individuals in Switzerland and Turkey, LGBTIQ-issues in the context of higher education institutions, the need for transnational solidarity when it comes to repression and oppression and strategies how to collaborate and communicate in culturally diverse contexts.

Moderation: Irina Brandenberger


From: 4 May 2022, 18.30

To: 4 May 2022, 21.00


Campus Toni-Areal

Pfingstweidstrasse 96, 8005 Zürich, Hörsaal 2 (3.K02)



This event is jointly organized by the ZHAW Diversity Unit, the ZHAW International Affairs Unit and the Research Association Switzerland-Turkey (SFST).

More information

LGBTIQ+ initiatives and needs such as documented in “My child” have gained renewed importance with the rise of populist discourses and authoritarian politics. Filmmaker Candan is currently documenting the struggle of students and faculty members at the Bogazici University in Istanbul – one of Turkey`s top universities – for academic freedom after the Turkish government appointed a rector for the university. The following student protests met with heavy police force and mass arrests. The closing down of the LGBTIQ+ student club and Can Candan`s dismissal from his academic position are further indicators for the tense atmosphere prevailing at the Bogazici University in the last months. While March 2022 an administrative court has revised the dismissal of Candan – the Bogazici incidents show the importance of transnational solidarity and resistance to protect scholars in Turkey and beyond during times of authoritarianism, conflicts and war.

Even in supposedly open, pluralistic societies like Switzerland, the struggle for recognition and equality as well as the overcoming of prejudices remain important. In view of significantly higher suicide rates among young people from the LGBTIQ+ spectrum, still widespread negative attitudes also among young people, and heteronormative and binary-oriented institutions, we ask ourselves what an institution for higher education like ZHAW can and should do on the topic.