German train stations ban ‘sexist’ poster for LGBT museum
Ads for a gay history museum in Germany have been banned at railway stations – supposedly due to ‘sexism’.
Berlin’s Schwules Museum* , which is dedicated to LGBT history in the city, had launched a poster campaign for its ‘Homosexualit_ies’ exhibit, featuring the work of a performance artist.
The ad features a purposefully androgynous model, shown bare-chested with a toned physique but wearing lipstick.
The museum says the exhibition is designed to “explicitly question gender norms and represents a broad variety of possible forms of sexuality” – but Deutsche Bahn AG banned the poster from being shown in railway stations.
The poster originally appeared on billboards and in train stations when the exhibition first opened in 2015 – but after a fresh ad push this month, the museum was told it fell short of the guidelines.
According to the Museum, the Deutsche Bahn’s ad unit Media & Buch decreed that that the poster fails to meet the guidelines of the German Council of Advertisement (Deutscher Werberat) because it is “sexualized” and “sexist”.
A statement from the Museum added: “Confronted with this somewhat contradictory behavior, the Deutsche Bahn replied that the poster must have accidently ‘slipped through’ in 2015, and that the German public has meanwhile become more sensitive about ‘sexism’.”
“As a consequence, the Deutsche Bahn has instructed its advertisement company Ströer not to allocate advertisement spaces in train stations to “Homosexualit_ies”.
A spokesperson for the Museum continued: “While we acknowledge that the poster has been subject to controversy among the gay-
lesbian community in Berlin, that discussion revolved around politics of representation (…) there were never any accusations of “sexism”.
Dr. Birgit Bosold, one of the curators of the exhibition, said: “We want to show that the discrimination of homosexual people is directly linked to gender norms, which are automatically assigning a specific sexual identity to everyone and, at the same time, a sexual desire exclusively towards the ‘other’ sex.”
“It is interesting that the Deutsche Bahn AG has no problems showing people – with nudity – in advertisements when they conform the heterosexual norms.”
Though Germany is largely progressive on LGBT rights, Chancellor Merkel has repeatedly ruled out calls to introduce equal marriage, saying: “For me, marriage is a man and a woman living together.”
In a challenge to her government, opposition parties in the upper house of the German Parliament passed a same-sex marriage bill last year – though it stands a near-zero chance of becoming law without her support.