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The Technion banned students from holding a prominently located drag show during university pride events. The administration refused to approve the students' request to hold the performance at the campus center, as it was last year, but only in a closed hall. The dean of students called the incident "provocative" in her response to the request, claiming that "various elements on campus" complained that the incident "does not arouse sympathy and hurts people's feelings."
The students who coordinated the pride event on campus last year agreed last month with the Dean of Students, Prof. Ayelet Fishman, that they would build a program for Wednesday afternoons, a kind of "active break" that takes place once a week for three hours. Fishman's office asked them to review bids and submit it for approval. Yesterday, they finished the work and sent the proposals, but were denied the part related to the drag show. The request, they say, was no different from last time — a performance by drag queen Suzy Boom at the amphitheater in the center of campus. "We have received a number of negative comments regarding last year's drag show that is not representative of the entire LGBTQ community, so we would like to take these feelings into account and not support a drag show," the office said in an email. "We would love to promote DJs, decorations and popsicles."
"Provocative and offensive." The event at the Technion last year (Photo: documentation on social networks according to section 27A of the Copyright Law)
Nathaniel Ziegler, a civil engineering student, was the one who filed the application. Ziegler refused to accept the refusal and went to the Dean of Students' office to clarify the matter. "I explained that even if a few people said something, it didn't mean everyone else should be offended, hundreds of people enjoyed the show last year," he told Walla!. In response, another email was sent to him, this time from Fishman herself. The language of the announcement was even more emphatic. "I want to put things in order. We are ready to support Pride Wednesday afternoon events at the Technion. Drag show - does not confirm its existence in the center of the campus, neither at noon nor in the evening," she clarified.
"I have received complaints/calls from various people on campus, including the gay fraternity (students, employees, faculty) that such a provocative event does not arouse sympathy and hurts the feelings of men/women," she continued. "I have no problem with it being held in the movie theater or in the MCC [Canada Community Center, another hall at the Technion], so whoever is interested will come and see." She suggested replacing the show with a party: "Music, DJ at lunchtime - no problem. We can think of other activities."
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"They send us to a side and closed place." The event at the Technion last year (Photo: documentation on social networks according to section 27A of the Copyright Law)
"They send us to a side and closed place," Ziegler accused. According to him, the decision to cancel the show also stems from a protest by "choosing the family." The group, which promotes anti-LGBT policies, caused controversy last year when it set up a student cell at the university. The university initially refused to take action against him, but eventually banned him from campus. "Last year, at the beginning of the show, the president of the university and the dean of students were congratulated. At the same time, the family voters demonstrated against us at the Technion gate. One of the opponents was interviewed and said we would do it in far parts of campus, and now comes the result. In the end, they surrendered."
"This is the fourth time in a year that we have to fight at the Technion for our place on campus," he explains. "It raises fear, a sense of discomfort being LGBT students and difficult feelings. This could be the beginning of a trend that will end with further measures against us. Even banning pride flags."
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