Gender lecture German scientist prohibited by activists


Central Europe


Humboldt University. Photo AFP, John MacDougall

The Humboldt University of Berlin cancelled a gender lecture after it was pressured to do so by gender activists. The lecture was called "Gender is not sex and sex is not gender and why there are two genders in biology."

A few hours before the lecture was to take place, the university decided to cancel the event that was part of the "Long Night of Science." That is reported by Junge Freiheit. LGBT groups had protested against the lecture by doctoral student Marie-Luise Vollbrecht. They accused her of transphobia.

The "working group of critical lawyers at the Humboldt University in Berlin" demanded that "queer and anti-trans ideologies" should not be offered a stage. It even planned a demonstration in front of the building. In reaction, the university cancelled Vollbrecht's lecture due to security concerns.

"Only two genders in biology"

In her lecture, Vollbrecht wanted to explain why biologically seen, there are only two sexes. Despite the event's cancellation, her lecture is published online in German.

Marie Luise Vollbrecht (r.) during her online lecture. Photo YouTube, Donnasdottir

According to the doctoral student, humans can only have one gender, "which serves to produce their species with sperm or with egg cells", as Bild reports.

The researcher told Bild that the cancellation has grieved her. She says that she understands the university's decision but that "the cave-in to violent radical activists who have no understanding of biology is alarming." She points out that objective debate is impossible "when events are cancelled for fear of violence."

According to Bild, Humboldt University and Vollbrecht are working on a solution so that the debate can be opened later.

Minister condemns cancellation

The cancellation of the lecture led to indignant responses. The Minister of Education and Science, Bettina Stark-Watzinger, reprimanded the university for cancelling the event, Bild writes. "It is not in the hands of activists to decide which positions may be heard and which may not", she said to the newspaper. She called the activists to accept the freedom of science. "It thrives on freedom and debate. Everyone has to endure that."

Also, Wolfgang Kubicki, the Bundestag Vice President, is alarmed by the situation. He says to Bild that the circumstances must be taken very seriously. "If we give in at this point and leave the playing field to the opponents of freedom of expression, it will have painful consequences for the freedom of all people in the country", he said.

"Academic freedom threatened"

The Academic Freedom Network was outraged by the cancellation of the lecture, Junge Freiheit writes. "The allegation of transphobia is not justified by anything", the Network wrote in a statement.

According to the Academic Freedom Network, it is not the first time a scientist has been threatened and insulted. "These tendencies call into question academic freedom at Berlin colleges and universities, not just in individual cases, but in general", it warns.



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