In Geneva, the Zoo dares to choose mixed evenings

The topic attracted attention last fall. Alleged assault with syringes and multiple testimonies of glasses poisoned with GHB, so many cases throw chills on the world of the night and its parties, accused of being unsafe, especially for women and LGBTQIA + people. Since then, some places have decided to take matters into their own hands with concrete actions. Usine de Genève has set up a working group in selected diversity, without cis-gendered men [ndlr: dont le genre ressenti correspond au genre assigné à sa naissance], Meteorites. The goal: “to initiate work on the prevention and management of sexist aggression and harassment and / or against LGBTQIA + persons. [Le groupe] works especially with training of staff and preparation of protocols ”, we can read on the Factory’s website.

A plural feminine working group

A little reminder of the facts to begin with. Cases of sexual assault and rape poisoning are unfortunately not new phenomena within the club walls. A number of cases of spray attacks attracted attention on the other side of the Channel in October last year, so it was the turn of the French-speaking Switzerland to be confronted with reports of this kind. This episode was followed by strong reactions from feminist circles, who even called for a boycott of nightclubs. Establishments were particularly criticized for not doing enough prevention in this area, but also for not taking adequate care of the victims in the event of an attack.

Questions that Fabrikken is now working on, and which also takes on its share of responsibility for the problem: “We must not feel in danger, nor worry about the people we meet. […] But in fact, these things happen. And our response has not always been on par. The factory is not a place where everyone feels safe and secure. ” An email address has also been created to collect testimonies from potential victims. A way to find solutions to solve problems that may arise internally, in the staff or during evenings with an external audience.

Create a bond of trust

The zoo, meanwhile, has taken an extra step to act upstream of this issue: Evenings in a chosen mix without heterosexual cis-gendered men. The organization of such events was also part of the demands of certain feminist groups last fall. The first evening was arranged at the beginning of December 2021, with some success, says Melina Johnsen, communications manager at the Zoo: “We had chosen a weekday evening to” test “these kinds of evenings. The majority of the public was already accustomed to such spaces, without heterosexual cis-gendered men. The event went well and the next one will take place this weekend. ” For the Zoo, it is less a question of banning the arrival of men than of creating an environment that is as less oppressive as possible.

If the audience is exclusively women or LGBTQIA +, this is also the case for the staff and the artists performing in the evening in selected mix of Osez Zoé. A way to highlight people who are still less likely to stand behind the turntables than their male counterparts. Although the Zoo intends to hold similar events sporadically, it does not see this as a definitive solution to this problem, but rather as the establishment of a temporary tool, which already seems to have proven itself: “We have got many positive feedback in the evening.It allowed us to interact with the public to create a bond of trust.

Contrasting reactions

However, Dare Zoé raises fundamental questions about the company’s operations. The zoo – and the factory as a whole – is in favor of inclusion and non-discriminatory access to its evenings. He had criticized the introduction of the health certificate, which no longer allowed him to offer “accessibility for all”, even though the chosen mixture responds to a completely different problem. These evenings, however, do not run counter to the Zoo’s policy, Melina Johnsen believes: “We must not lose sight of the fact that if Osez Zoé exists, it is because the nocturnal places are not sufficient. sure for everyone. “At that time there was no problem to report, and the few people who turned away at the entrance, past the disappointment of not being able to party, understood the purpose of the event.

For the Zoo, however, the mixture chosen may pose a financial risk. At a time when nightclubs are still struggling to fill up due to 2G +, it’s a hell of a bet to cut off part of your audience. Same observation with a staff divided by two and the possibility of having to turn understaffed. If the feedback was positive for this first attempt at the Zoo, other companies would not have received the same welcome. According to an article by Geneva Tribune, Petit-Saconnex toy library finally canceled its gaming night last Friday, also scheduled for mixed use, following violent reactions received on social networks. The PLR ​​Ville de Genève even issued a press release recalling “that the toy library is subsidized by public funds”, and condemning “these new forms of discrimination that endanger democracy”. Two rooms, two atmospheres…

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