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I couldn't find any articles in English (yet). Here is an article (in German) with a photo of protest banners that say things like “No stage for transphobia”, etc. The usual stuff. https://www.rbb24.de/panorama/beitrag/2022/07/berlin-abgesagter-vortrag-humboldt-uni-soll-nachgeholt-werden.html

Below is a translation (from DeepL). German has only one word for both sex and gender (Geschlecht), although the English word “Gender” is coming into use. So the translation may be confusing sometimes.

[Translation]

Humboldt University wants to make up for controversial lecture on gender

There was a lot of excitement over the weekend about the cancellation at short notice of a lecture on the topic of sex and gender at the HU in Berlin. Now the university has scheduled a new date for the event - but in a different form.

The Humboldt University wants to make up for a cancelled controversial lecture. The university's spokesman, Boris Nitzsche, told rbb on Monday that the lecture would now take place on July 14. It was originally planned as part of the "Long Night of the Sciences."

Biologist and doctoral student at HU, Marie Vollbrecht, had wanted to give the lecture titled "Sex is not (Ge)bad [Note from OP: This is a play on words in German. It doesn’t really translate into English.] , Sex, Gender and why there are two sexes in biology." The "Working Group of Critical Lawyers at the Humboldt University Berlin" had called for protests in advance. In a press release it said that the biologist Marie-Luise Vollbrecht wanted to spread queer- and gender-hostile theses in the lecture.

Author accused ARD and ZDF of pursuing "threatening agenda".

A counter-protest had also been announced. As a result, the university canceled the lecture on Saturday at short notice, citing security concerns. Vollbrecht told rbb that it is basic scientific knowledge that there are only two biological sexes. Biological facts are to be seen independently of gender issues.

The spokeswoman of the "critical lawyers" told rbb that the biologist Vollbrecht wanted to convey a thesis in this lecture that is outdated in science and also gives hostilities against transsexual people a serious veneer. "However, she does not research the topic at all and presents an opinion as given, which just contradicts the broad scientific consensus. We as critical Jurist*innen have accordingly Saturday also stood up for the scientific findings of recent decades," the spokeswoman said.

Vollbrecht herself told the rbb24 Abendschau on Sunday that the lecture was not about politics, but only about biology. The biologist had recently attracted attention as co-author of a controversial commentary in the "Welt" [paid content]. In it, the public broadcaster was accused of indoctrination of children and an ideological approach, among other things, because of an explanatory video of the "Sendung mit der Maus" on the subject of transgender [wdrmaus.de]. A contribution that was called "intolerant, condescending and resentful, scientifically at best grossly one-sided" by Springer CEO Matthias Döpfner.

Criticism of cancellation

Humboldt University stated that the lecture would be made up for as part of a discussion. The discussion will ask how to deal with such charged situations and polarizing issues. On the one hand, the free speech of scientists must be secured, but on the other hand, legitimate protest is also important.

The president of the German University Association, Bernhard Kempen, had previously sharply criticized the cancellation. The university had done a disservice to academic freedom, Kempen told Deutsche Presse-Agentur on Monday. "Instead, it should have shown backbone and done everything in its power to ensure that the lecture could take place," Kempen said. Universities are sites of intellectual debate, Kempen said. "Here, every scientist must be able to present her and his research results, theses and views for discussion without fear."

I couldn't find any articles in English (yet). Here is an article (in German) with a photo of protest banners that say things like “No stage for transphobia”, etc. The usual stuff. https://www.rbb24.de/panorama/beitrag/2022/07/berlin-abgesagter-vortrag-humboldt-uni-soll-nachgeholt-werden.html Below is a translation (from DeepL). German has only one word for both sex and gender (Geschlecht), although the English word “Gender” is coming into use. So the translation may be confusing sometimes. [Translation] Humboldt University wants to make up for controversial lecture on gender There was a lot of excitement over the weekend about the cancellation at short notice of a lecture on the topic of sex and gender at the HU in Berlin. Now the university has scheduled a new date for the event - but in a different form. The Humboldt University wants to make up for a cancelled controversial lecture. The university's spokesman, Boris Nitzsche, told rbb on Monday that the lecture would now take place on July 14. It was originally planned as part of the "Long Night of the Sciences." Biologist and doctoral student at HU, Marie Vollbrecht, had wanted to give the lecture titled "Sex is not (Ge)bad [Note from OP: This is a play on words in German. It doesn’t really translate into English.] , Sex, Gender and why there are two sexes in biology." The "Working Group of Critical Lawyers at the Humboldt University Berlin" had called for protests in advance. In a press release it said that the biologist Marie-Luise Vollbrecht wanted to spread queer- and gender-hostile theses in the lecture. Author accused ARD and ZDF of pursuing "threatening agenda". A counter-protest had also been announced. As a result, the university canceled the lecture on Saturday at short notice, citing security concerns. Vollbrecht told rbb that it is basic scientific knowledge that there are only two biological sexes. Biological facts are to be seen independently of gender issues. The spokeswoman of the "critical lawyers" told rbb that the biologist Vollbrecht wanted to convey a thesis in this lecture that is outdated in science and also gives hostilities against transsexual people a serious veneer. "However, she does not research the topic at all and presents an opinion as given, which just contradicts the broad scientific consensus. We as critical Jurist*innen have accordingly Saturday also stood up for the scientific findings of recent decades," the spokeswoman said. Vollbrecht herself told the rbb24 Abendschau on Sunday that the lecture was not about politics, but only about biology. The biologist had recently attracted attention as co-author of a controversial commentary in the "Welt" [paid content]. In it, the public broadcaster was accused of indoctrination of children and an ideological approach, among other things, because of an explanatory video of the "Sendung mit der Maus" on the subject of transgender [wdrmaus.de]. A contribution that was called "intolerant, condescending and resentful, scientifically at best grossly one-sided" by Springer CEO Matthias Döpfner. Criticism of cancellation Humboldt University stated that the lecture would be made up for as part of a discussion. The discussion will ask how to deal with such charged situations and polarizing issues. On the one hand, the free speech of scientists must be secured, but on the other hand, legitimate protest is also important. The president of the German University Association, Bernhard Kempen, had previously sharply criticized the cancellation. The university had done a disservice to academic freedom, Kempen told Deutsche Presse-Agentur on Monday. "Instead, it should have shown backbone and done everything in its power to ensure that the lecture could take place," Kempen said. Universities are sites of intellectual debate, Kempen said. "Here, every scientist must be able to present her and his research results, theses and views for discussion without fear."

7 comments

FWIW Kathleen Stock's Material Girls was published in German translation earlier this year. Spread the word among any German-speaking friends you think might be interested.

https://www.amazon.de/-/en/Kathleen-Stock/dp/3893202897

Amazing how many lecturers, doctors, researchers, etc they keep having to aggressively deplatform and hound into silence to maintain that 'broad scientific consensus.' Also exactly what 'scientific findings of recent decades'? All I've seen has been shit with methodology, conclusions, etc that wouldn't pass a science fair getting kicked through because 'inclusive'...and because the critical voices who would normally be an indispensable part of the scientific process (hello, peer review?) have been terrorized into silence.

I'm also sick of 'scientific studies' done by trans researchers. Talk about too much skin in the game.

Went from being expected to take efforts to eliminate/minimize bias in studies to requiring bias.

TIMs, you are at the wrong place bros, Bebelplatz is that way -->

Very interesting, thank you. I've asked DH (also a German speaker) to keep an eye out for more coverage of this.