Switzerland: Portrait of a trans woman burned on a campfire

The effigy was lit for Sechse?uten in Bassersdorf, Switzerland (Image: zurinews)

An 82-year-old man has filed a criminal complaint against the city (Image: zurinews)

Every year, the small town of Bassersdorf, Switzerland, builds a “Böögg” – a large puppet that is lit for the Sechseläuten, an annual celebration of the beginning of spring.

Typically, the Böögg is created as a snowman and meant to signify the end of winter – although Bassersdorf has a habit of going in a different direction.

Instead of winter, Basserdorf has historically created his likenesses to represent people they find negative, including dictators like Kim Jong-Un and Muammar al-Gaddafi.

This year, the city created one resembling a transgender woman, which it dubbed “Diversity Böögg.”

According to the Swedish newspaper Queer.de, Böögg was dressed in a rainbow skirt, red tie and make-up and had exposed breasts and a penis.

The effigy sparked a backlash, with a resident filing a criminal complaint against the city.

Master of ceremonies Christian Weiss emphasized that this was not an attack on a single person, but a statement against the “rampant narcissistic hypersensitivity and the pathological lack of humor”.

Weiss said the intention was to focus on a current event, but they felt anything about the pandemic or the war in Ukraine was too sad, and wanted Sechseläuten to be “cheerful and fun.”

Instead, the ceremony organizers opted for gender and diversity – and instead burned a figurine of a transgender woman.

“When (wind) whirled up the skirt of the Böögg, many spectators grinned,” said Weiss.

However, not everyone saw the funny side.

An 82-year-old man has filed a criminal complaint against the city government, calling the ceremony “inhumane” and saying the “distorted image” affects a particularly stigmatized group of people.

The same man is said to have complained about loud fireworks at the event in 2017, and a year later the Böögg was modeled after him.

The local prosecutor’s office has not filed any charges based on the complaint. The resident also reported the ceremony to the Equal Opportunities Office of the Canton of Zurich, its director Helena Trachsel told local media this week.

“It’s not possible to burn a doll symbolically because of an external characteristic,” she said.

“Any demeaning gesture that violates a person’s integrity is impermissible,” she said, referring to the Equal Treatment Act and anti-discrimination regulations. “The council has to think for everyone. It has a role model function.”

The city’s mayor, Doris Meier, issued a statement apologizing to everyone hurt by the event.

She said she could understand “that the action sparked different opinions on this sensitive issue” and regretted “if people’s feelings were hurt”.

However, she said she didn’t think that was the intention.

“I am convinced that those responsible did not want to offend anyone, but wanted to draw attention to the topic of diversity.”

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https://metro.co.uk/2022/06/15/switzerland-effigy-of-trans-woman-burned-on-bonfire-16830283/ Switzerland: Portrait of a trans woman burned on a campfire

Justin Scacco

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