Homophobia raises its ugly head again at CERN laboratory in Geneva

Homophobia has raised its ugly head again at CERN’s laboratory in Geneva, says LGBT CERN, which reported that several of its posters have been defaced with hate writing and bible quotes – one saying that gay men should be put to death.

The LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) organisation at CERN, which houses the Large Hadron Collider, says its posters announcing social gatherings and meetings at CERN have had the word ‘Schwein’ (German for ‘pig’) written across them.

Some of the posters had quotations from the Bible added to them, including one from the Old Testament Book of Leviticus, which says: “If a man lies with a male as with a woman, they shall surely be put to death”.

Homophobia at CERNHomophobic abuse is not a new problem at CERN, according to LGBT CERN. (Image: twitter.com/PhysicsWorld)

One individual already disciplined

One scientist who works at CERN has been disciplined after being caught on CCTV while defacing posters with homophobic hate writing. LGBT CERN says it does not believe the latest incident is limited just to one individual.

LGBT CERN, which has existed since 2010, told the Sunday Times that systematic defacing of its posters, as well as homophobic hate writing, is an ongoing problem at CERN, which has more than 2,500 employees.



Aidan Randle-Conde, a British physicists who founded LGBT CERN, told the Sunday Times:

“The continued defacing of our posters is an unacceptable campaign of hate and intolerance. We do keep track of how many posters get taken down or defaced, and over a two- week period roughly one-third can be removed.”

“I don’t know who is responsible, although it is probably the work of a few people. In some cases there have been religious texts attached to the posters.”

CERN Homophobia rears ugly headWhile the defacing of LGBT posters is fairly common, LGBT CERN stressed that hate writing and Bible quotes, like those in this image, are rare. (Image: twitter.com/Jonathan_Leake)

Homophobia an ongoing problem at CERN

Sunday Times science editor, Jonathan Leake, wrote that homophobia has been a problem in CERN in the past, with at least one individual in the LGBT CERN group receiving hate emails – disciplinary action for that abuse was taken.

Regarding homophobic abuse, a CERN spokesperson said:

“CERN considers that these acts are unacceptable, and strongly condemned on various occasions. This is in our DNA not only words, and is clearly reflected in our core values and in our code of conduct. Homophobic behaviour is clearly not welcome at CERN and will not be tolerated.”



LGBT CERN clarifies level of homophobia

Following Sunday’s newspaper report, LGBT CERN posted the following statement on its website:

“The recent article published in the Sunday Times is factually accurate, but some feel it conveyed the sense that the situation is much worse than it is. Poster removal is unfortunately a common occurrence, but more serious events, such as the ‘Schwein’ grafitti or threats like the Leviticus posting are thankfully rare.”

“We appreciate that action has been taken against the one person caught removing our poster and are also pleased that we have an open line of communication with the CERN Diversity Office. Issues affecting LGBTQ* scientists go far beyond the laboratory, and in some parts of the world it is not safe for out LGBTQ* people to walk the streets.”

“As scientists who attend conferences across the world, this places limits on our safety and ability to collaborate internationally.”

Homophobia in Engineering

Tory MP, Alec Shelbrooke (Elmet & Rothwell) published his report Engineering Action: Tackling Homophobia in Engineering in February 2016.

The report, jointly authored with Dr. Mark McBride-Write, Co-founder and Chair of industry network group InterEngineering, showed that more action is required in the engineering sector to tackle homophobia and its effect on productivity and the overall economy.

According to the report, bullying and pressures on LGBT engineers in the workplace is costing UK GDP (gross domestic product) about £11.2 billion each year.

Mr. Shelbrooke, a ministerial aid to the Minister for Employment, who is a Mechanical Engineer by profession, said:

“The basis of this report is to recommend that homophobic attitudes can be transformed through proactive, educational teamwork and leadership. Companies that have adopted such an approach have seen up to a 30% increase in productivity from openly LGBT employees as a direct result of a happier and more cohesive workplace.”

“This report not only highlights the prevalence of homophobia in the engineering industry, but also lays out a proactive approach for the sector to tackle this issue head-on.”

According to the report, over half of LGBT staff employed in engineering are choosing to remain in the closet because they are afraid of what the impact might be if they come out, i.e. they fear that coming out would harm their career prospects.

Former CEO of BP, Lord Browne of Madingley, said regarding the report:

“As a graduate trainee engineer at BP in the 1960s, it was immediately obvious to me that being gay in business and most definitely in the oil business, was unacceptable.”

“This report explores the consequences of failing to create an inclusive work environment. It shows that when people are not comfortable bringing their whole selves to work they do not engage and productivity suffers as a result.”

Video – Homophobia in the workplace

A Brazilian production against homophobia in workplaces.

14 Comments
  1. Maria M says

    If this is the level of homophobia in a workplace with supposedly ultra-civilized staff full of doctorates and high IQs, can you image what it is like in other places of work around the world?

  2. robert whitaker says

    it seems that there is homophobia every where…..maybe it’s not the “homophobic who are wrong

  3. edwardowen says

    Well the muslems would stone them all and the way things are going now we will be rulled by them one day.

  4. outof ajam says

    Aren’t they supposed to be concentrating on their work, after all that’s what they’re all there for and get paid for- bringing personal politics into the workplace is wrong, and incendiary. Partisan personal political organizations like LGBT have no right using a workplace populated by a wide variety of people to promote their agendas – after all people have radically different and opposing views on these most personal aspects of life. This is a sign of great unprofessionalism creeping into the CERN organization, sorry LGBT – you should do these things OUTSIDE of the workplace, OK?

  5. Robert Lee says

    what do these deviants expect a pat on the back

  6. docMfan says

    Gosh. How hard is it to live and let live?

    I bet CERN has all sorts of clubs and societies for people who share interests or backgrounds. How can anyone be so petty as to – anonymously – deface posters of one particular group?

  7. Truth Hurts says

    Once again, misguided individuals like you have gotten it totally wrong. No one is PROMOTING any sort of agenda! If you’re not gay, lesbian bisexual or transgender, then that poster has NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU. You can ‘make’ someone gay just by putting up a notice on a bulletin board, so what on earth is to be accomplished by defacing it in a childish way? It’s much more worrying to see that there are just as many immature, – not to mention cowardly – people working in what ought to be an empirical, scientific organisation, than in any regular workplace where the average IQ is considerably lower. You’ve once again trotted out the same tired, lame excuse for your own homophobia by trying to place blame on a group of people who are merely trying to be inclusive. If they were organising a volleyball tournament inside the workplace would you still have the same outrage and tell them to ‘do it OUTSIDE the workplace’, as clearly that has nothing to do with particle acceleration? I thought not. A small notice inviting people to a meeting is NOT ‘pushing an agenda’, you idiot. Rather than projecting blame where it isn’t warranted, just admit you have a deep seeded fear of gays and lesbians – at least that would be a more honest response.

  8. Truth Hurts says

    Sorry – should have said you CAN’T make someone gay just by putting up a notice on a bulletin board. But perhaps my typo was in some way a bit Freudian, seeing as how there is so much fear and hatred at CERN as to have to deface these posters like some twelve year old.

  9. Truth Hurts says

    Homophobia IS wrong. Just as racism, mysoginy, bigotry and xenophobia of any kind is wrong, and beneath human dignity. To suggest – or even think- otherwise is a disgrace to being human.

  10. Truth Hurts says

    Wow.

    Homophobic, racist AND illiterate – well done! You’ve achieved the classic trifecta of ignorant posting! Congratulations.

    While I applaud your interest in this story – as it implies that you may have some degree of intelligence when it comes to the advancement of science – your ‘contribution’ to this discussion would shame a ten year old. Not only can you not spell, your assumptions about how anyone would be treated by a religion (of which you clearly have no knowledge or experience of) is repellent in the extreme, as is your thinly veiled approval of the cowardly and homophobic acts taking place certain neanderthal ‘scientists’ at CERN.

    Quit dragging your knuckles on the ground and join the 21st century.

  11. James Simmonds says

    Actually sadly he’s probably right. That’s what does happen regularly in many Muslims societies. Also he may be homophobic and illiterate, but nothing he said was racist.

  12. edwardowen says

    Your not worth answering you low life.

  13. edwardowen says

    Well said mate,there are some weired people on here.

  14. edwardowen says

    zsssssssssssssss

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