Two pianists are beaten up in Swiss homophobic attack

Two pianists are beaten up in Swiss homophobic attack


norman lebrecht

June 12, 2018

Message from Sylvain Hdrl and Matthis Pascaud:


It is with this lapidary phrase, on Saturday evening in front of the hotel Beau-Lac in Neuchatel, with which commenced an unprecedented act of aggression, during which we were beaten up severely, following my friend’s mention of our homosexuality to a group of strangers, who had come there to celebrate a marriage. Two twin brothers had at that moment decided to literally bash us up.

My friend was chased down the street with the words «We are going to make you run, dirty fag!». Thrown to the ground, his bag ripped away, he was beaten up with blows of feet to the body, under the amused looks of the guests, invited to the marriage. When our friends interfered, the two brothers explained : «We are not going to touch you, it’s the fags we want».

I was talking to a friend some few metres away, without ever having crossed eyes with those two guys. I turned my head, astonished, tried to interfere myself and received a punch of incredible force to the back of the head. A bone in my cranium split on the spot, I collapsed onto the ground and lost consciousness. Because I am a « dirty fag ».

Homophobia in 2018 is our faces rubbed into the dirt.
Homophobia in 2018 is two broken teeth and two others grazed by the asphalt.
Homophobia in 2018 is our knees and shoulders swollen.
Homophobia in 2018 is a cranial bone split.
Homophobia in 2018 is whiplash.
Homophobia in 2018 is our hands damaged, when we are both pianists.

We are in 2018 and we had to neverthless confront the same horror as countless homosexuals since the dawn of time.

What is worse than to be punished so violently for something we did not choose? What is more humiliating than to be generalised in this manner? What is worse than the anxiousness and discomfort that remains with us, despite our love of life, spontaneous and joyful?

These two bastards have not traumatized us, have not scared us and they will never succeed.

They have engraved on our bodies their unjust, crass stupidity, but we washed it off.


C’est par cette phrase lapidaire que, samedi soir devant l’Hotel Beaulac Neuchâtel de Neuchâtel, commence une agression durant laquelle nous nous sommes fait rouer de coups après qu’un ami révèle notre homosexualité à un groupe d’inconnus, venus ici pour fêter un mariage. Deux frères jumeaux ont à ce moment décidé de littéralement nous tabasser.

Mon ami s’est fait poursuivre en pleine rue. « On va te faire courir, sale pédé ! ». Jeté au sol, sac arraché, il s’est fait rouer de coups de pied sous le regard amusé de quelques invités du mariage. Quand nos amis s’interposent, les deux frères expliquent « Vous on ne va pas vous taper, c’est les pédés qu’on veut ». Moi, je parlais à une amie à quelques mètres de là, sans avoir jamais croisé le regard de ces deux types. Je tourne la tête, médusé, essaie de m’interposer et reçois un coup de poing d’une violence inouïe, derrière la tête. Un os de mon crâne se fend sur le coup, je m’effondre au sol, je perds connaissance. Parce que je suis un « sale pédé ».

L’homophobie en 2018, ce sont nos visages écrasés au sol.

L’homophobie en 2018, ce sont deux dents cassées et deux autres limées par le bitume.

L’homophobie en 2018, ce sont nos genoux et nos épaules tuméfiés.

L’homophobie en 2018, c’est un os du crâne fendu.

L’homophobie en 2018, c’est une entorse des cervicales.

L’homophobie en 2018, ce sont nos mains abîmées alors que nous sommes tous les deux pianistes.

Nous sommes en 2018 et nous avons pourtant dû affronter la même horreur qu’un nombre incalculable d’homosexuels depuis la Nuit des temps.

Quoi de plus terrible que de sentir sa vie menacée pour quelque chose qu’on n’a pas choisi ? Quoi de plus humiliant que d’être réduit ainsi à un détail de ce que nous sommes ? Quoi de pire que le mal-être qui depuis demeure malgré notre joie de vivre spontanée ?

Ces deux salauds ne nous ont pas traumatisés pour autant, ne nous ont pas rendus peureux et n’y arriveront jamais.

Ils ont gravé sur nos corps leur bêtise crasse, nous nous en sommes vite lavés.


  • Mike Scahchter says:

    As they say, immensely depressing that this should happen in 2018 in supposedly enlightened Western Europe.

    • John Borstlap says:

      It is questionable whether Switzerland really belongs to enlightened Europe. There is also much racism there.

      It is also questionable whether Europe as a whole belongs to enlightened Europe.

      • Sue says:

        Completely agree.

      • Pianofortissimo says:

        With alls their faults, Switzerland is today the land whose government form is most similar to classical Athenian democracy – I do not endorse, I don’t oppose, but I think it is very interesting to observe.

        You write very much about the Enlightenment and its values and its cultural heritage. The most enlightened person in the late 18th Century was probably Edmund Burke – today’s ‘Intelligentsia’ makes their best to ignore that in in his time he was a Whig liberal. It was the other ‘torch bearers’ who in the end inspired the Jacobinite terror and horrors like that.

        • John Borstlap says:

          Indeed….. it was the radical form of ‘idealism’ which turned it on its head. Burke understood the value of evolution (with the chain of relatedness of the generations) and the dangers of abstract political engineering.

    • barry guerrero says:


      What little I know of Switzerland – greatly from the incredible bureaucracy and interference that a friend is dealing with while trying to sell his home there – is enough to keep me from every taking the place seriously. There’s a smugness that belies a certain xenophobia below the surface. Chalet pimps!

      Then again, what happened here could happen pretty much anywhere – even the wrong neighborhoods in S.F.

      • John Borstlap says:

        Switzerland is qua mentality just like Holland, only with mountains and different cheese.

        But they produced, apart from the kuku clock, also CG Jung, Frank Martin and Richard Dubugnon, so the Swiss have some license, maybe.

  • Peter says:


    Lesbian, gay, bi and trans people still face shocking levels of abuse.

    I wish Sylvain and Matthis swift recovery.

  • NightFlightToVenus says:

    Thank you Sylvain & Matthis (& Norman) for highlighting this disgraceful, violent & hurtful attack. It is alas, still too common an experience for many gay men worldwide and demonstrates that even in the most civilised and tolerant societies, the veneer of acceptance remains wafer thin

  • Sharon says:

    What a pity.

    What causes homophobia? In adults I believe it is three things. There are those who just get kicks out of being aggressive to someone weaker.
    Second they may be reacting against their own same sex or ambivalent feelings about sexual orientation. These two reasons apply to gay bullying among kids as well.

    The third reason is, I believe, is envy, believe it or not. To this homophobic’s way of thinking gays have it easy. These homophobics believe “I have to pay when I want my itch scratched and I pay dear. Women demand emotional investment and commitment. Unless I am willing to pay money for a prostitute or worry about disease with someone who is willing to have casual sex (and with few women sex is truly casual) I have to give love to get sex which requires a lot of emotional energy. I also have to worry about pregnancy. Meanwhile the queers are getting it all for free. What right have they?”

    Of course this thinking is ridiculous but you see versions of this idea in even respectable conservative publications.

    I hope these pianists have a speedy recovery

    • Sue says:

      Perverse comments.

    • David Ward says:

      In my 77 years I have never been or felt I wanted to be a homosexual, but at an early age there was an attempt by authority to instil in me a fear of homosexuality. When 13 (in 1954) I was sent away to board at a famous ‘public’ (ie private, fee-paying) school. One of the first lectures given to us new boys implied that having a homosexual relationship with another boy could be considered worse than murder. Without having any real understanding of what it was that was being referred to, I was nevertheless shocked that there was anything deemed by those in charge to be worse than killing another person.

      We have made progress since then.

    • John Borstlap says:

      Hard-working, straight males being bogged-down by their family obligations, having to spend their evenings with extra work to pay for their children’s toys and education, claustrophobically locked-up in suffocating suburbia, may feel a pang of envy when they happen to cross the path of a parade:

  • Sharon says:

    Actually years ago part of that thinking comes from the pre twentieth century belief that it actually WAS murder. The mechanism of human conception was not understood until the early 1820s. Widespread medical knowledge of it was not known until the 1860s and by the general public until the 20th century.

    Before then semen was considered to contain “seed” which were self contained complete tiny human beings planted in the uterus where they sprouted into fetuses and ultimately babies. If a child had the characteristics of the mother it was because the fetus could be influenced by his/her environment.

    Masturbation and homosexual activity killed these human seeds since they were not implanted but instead died upon or soon after ejaculation. Thus homosexuality and masturbation were considered forms of homicide and this is the main reason, in my opinion, why it is still forbidden among traditionalists in all the major religions

    • John Borstlap says:

      Before the monotheistic religions, homosexuality even did not have a name. It was considered a ‘taste’, nothing more. It was wide-spread in Antiquity and hardly worth a mention. With early Christianity, it was related to Roman pagan decadence and that idea is still around, being reinforced by well-meant but inappropriate gay parades in the Western world. In Islam, only later-on when narrow-minded orthodoxy began to dominate the culture, the flowering of muslem pluralism (including in matters of love) was curtailed.

      Some psychologists suggest that gay bashing (always men) is related to a feeble male identity which is artificially created by the culture, thus not rooted in true identity, so that insecurity about self image, with underdeveloped males, results in anxiety which is then projected into violence: ‘beat that image so that it disappears from my inner self’.

      There are quite some ‘normal relationships’ with two ‘different genders’ which are quite off-putting, so the whole emotional field of gayphobia is absurd.

  • Anmarie says:

    Many of my friends are gay, and they all have horror stories.

    Best wishes for a full recovery.

  • Doug says:

    Another one to add to the list. Caution. Just clicking on the link might make a fully brainwashed loyal liberal sheep’s head explode.

    • Andreas B. says:

      you seem to be suggesting this story is a ‘hate-hoax’, that this statement is a lie
      – what is your evidence?

      were you a witness of the attack? have you seen the police report? do you know ‘what really happened’?

      pray tell!

      • Pianofortissimo says:

        Yes, you are the first who mentioned in this discussion that we don’t know what really happened. At the same time you criticize Doug for being just critical. Answers to two questions would be very clarifying: Why and under which circumstances did they tell a group of strangers that they are homosexuals? What kind of people are the ‘twin brothers’, do they belong to any active ‘identity group’ or things like that? These questions are not comfortable to pose, and probably not comfortable to answer, but they are essential to assess the veracity of the message and thus whether I can heartily sympathize with the victims.

        • Pianofortissimo says:

          Of course, ‘Doug’ is a troll… 🙂

        • Andreas B. says:

          Doug is clearly more than “just critical”: he adds this incident to a list of ‘hate-hoaxes’.

          I’m simply asking for evidence for this unsubstantiated claim.

          it would have been easy to criticise, given his 2nd sentence – however: don’t feed the trolls … 😉

          • Bruce says:

            The trolls here are well-nourished and healthy. No wonder they keep coming back 🙂

  • YoYo Mama says:

    I hope they will be punished severely. Were they identified? And I hope you both get significant reparations. The entire wedding party should pay for not stopping them. That’s a marriage that won’t last.

  • C. Mendoza says:

    Vous avez déposé plainte, j’espère.