Just 30 years ago in Switzerland, Thierry Delessert and his companion were asked when they were looking for an apartment if they were homosexuals or cousins.
The first option systematically deprives them of housing.
This 56-year-old researcher at the University of Lausanne still remembers the time when the police did not care about homosexuals.
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Thirty years later, the Swiss are preparing to approve the principle of marriage for all in a referendum on Sunday, September 26, with a large majority according to the polls. The Alpine country is one of the few in Western Europe that has not yet taken the plunge. This is "
a very big step forward
" for Switzerland, assures AFP Thierry Delessert, who was a nurse in psychiatric services before resuming studies to become a specialist in the history of homosexuality in Switzerland in order to better understand this dark past.
Switzerland decriminalized homosexuality in 1942, but various municipal or cantonal police forces had - in some cases until the beginning of the 1990s - registers listing homosexuals. Thierry Delessert, who wrote “
Let's get out of the ghetto. Political history of homosexualities in Switzerland, 1950-1990
”, explains that these registers were kept in the name of“
control of deviance and morality
These files could affect people's lives.
If a supposed homosexual was tried for theft, his homosexuality was further proof of his immorality.
If a homosexual asked for an apartment, he did not receive it.
If a homosexual wanted a job in the public service, he did not get it,
”explains Thierry Delessert.
These registers were never published, however, and those who appeared in them were not informed.
Only Zurich and Basel in 1979 and 1980 officially announced the abolition.
As a historian, it's frustrating, because the registers have mysteriously disappeared
, ”laments the specialist.
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His research, however, enabled him to find the testimony of a commissioner speaking about 200 homosexuals registered per year in Zurich and handwritten notes on police documents where police officers demanded the creation of these “
” concerning arrested homosexuals.