Target: France Ministry of National Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem
Goal: Recall government pamphlets that call transgender people “cross-dressers” and spread transphobic stereotypes and lies.
An official government pamphlet is spreading the inaccurate notion that transgender people are “cross-dressers” and other offensive misinformation in an attempt to educate students and combat homophobia in France. However, in the process, the government is promoting clear transphobia that actively harms trans people in France and abroad.
These pamphlets were issued by the Ministry of Education with the stated goal of fighting discrimination and prejudice against LBGT+ people. However, transgender rights groups are saying that they contain little to no accurate information about trans individuals.
They start by stating that “trans person may be a transvestite (they have not changed their biological sex, but dress in clothes more usual to the opposite sex) or transsexual.” The terms “transvestite” and “transsexual” are considered to be outdated and offensive, and an individual who dresses in the clothing associated with another gender is not a trans person.
The text goes on to focus on transgender identity in terms of sexuality, which is both wrong and harmful, and talks about changing “biological sex,” which suggests that trans people aren’t really the gender they say they are or that that they have to have surgery to change their primary and/or secondary sex characteristics in order to be valid transgender people. These are all basic things that transgender groups have spoken out about for decades, and the French government should know better.
How this pamphlet was released without consulting transgender rights groups who would have immediately pointed out all of the harmful stereotypes it promotes is a mystery and a disgrace. Demand that the Ministry of Education immediately recall the pamphlets, apologize, and work to replace them with information that doesn’t threaten the well-being of the very people they claim to be trying to protect.
Dear Minister Vallaud-Belkacem,
It’s recently come to light that an educational pamphlet released by your department contains inaccurate and utterly transphobic information about transgender people. This pamphlet was supposed to combat ignorance about and prejudice against LGBT+ people, but instead, you promoted it–at least when it comes to trans people.
Being transgender does not mean dressing in the clothing of a different gender. It means being a different gender than the one you were assigned at birth. This is such basic information that it’s completely baffling that this pamphlet could have been released as is. Gender identity is also not the same thing as sexual orientation, and surgery is not necessary to be transgender. Any trans person could have explained this to you.
The information you published and distributed to students across France is not only wrong, it’s the exact kind of thing that creates prejudice and violence against trans people. Immediately recall these pamphlets and do what’s needed to let all students know that the information in them was wrong and to distribute accurate information about transgender identity, verified by actual trans rights groups.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Women’s eNews