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France promises to tackle LGBT+ hate and ban ‘conversion therapy’

France promises to tackle LGBT+ hate and ban ‘conversion therapy’

  • The 42 measures will tackle homophobia and transphobia in the home, school, university, work, healthcare and sport.
Elisabeth Moreno.

The French government has promised to to ban ‘conversion therapy’  and improve education on LGBT+ issues.

The pledges are part of a 42 point national plan to combat hatred and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

French Minister of Gender Equality and Diversity Elisabeth Moreno said the plan will improve life for LGBT+ people by 2023. 

Among the proposals is making adoption easier for LGBT+ families.

Meanwhile the government wants to follow other countries in banning ‘conversion therapies’.

Malta, Ecuador, Brazil, Taiwan and Germany have already banned the dangerous and futile attempts to ‘cure’ people’s sexual orientation or gender identity. And many other nations are considering following them.

Moreno described the so-called ‘therapies’ as ‘abject and medieval practices’. 

She added: ‘We want to ban them outright.’

Fighting against hate in schools

However, she also placed a large emphasis on education.

She said: ‘Because discrimination and inequality are rooted in childhood, they can also be corrected, by putting in resources.

‘The school must therefore be the first place of awareness and prevention to participate in deconstructing stubborn stereotypes.’

She will work with her colleague, Minister of National Education Jean-Michel Blanquer, to improve teacher training.

Meanwhile, the government will also set up a website called ‘Educating against LGBTphobia’. Moreno said it will ‘give teachers the weapons to fight homophobia and transphobia, and allow the proper inclusion of LGBT students.’

Moreover, the government will continue to update its red tape so administrative forms are fully inclusive of same-sex couples and rainbow families.

Rising hate attacks in France

Moreno said hate attacks against LGBT+ people are ‘unacceptable in the France of 2020’.

But the government’s plan comes against a backdrop or rising homophobic and transphobic hate crime.

Official police figures in May confirmed homophobic and transphobic hate crimes had risen by 36% in the last year.

However, LGBT+ hate crime charity SOS Homophobie says the real numbers are even higher. It reported an ‘alarming increase’ of 130% in physical attacks against trans people in the last year.

Meanwhile, research from the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) indicated French LGBT+ people are significantly more likely to fear violence.

The FRA research found that 60% of LGBT+ EU citizens  always or often avoided holding a same-sex partner’s hand in public because they feared someone would assault, threaten or harass them.

However, in France that figure is significantly higher at 72%. That’s far higher than in comparable countries, including the UK, Germany, Italy, Spain, Belgium and Sweden.

Moreover, 14% of LGBT+ French people said they’d suffered a physical or sexual attack due to being LGBT+ in the past five years. Again, that is above the EU average of 11%.

At the time France’s interior ministry said they were ‘part of a larger context of increasing hate acts and identity extremism’.

In a statement it added: ‘These figures testify to the deep anchoring of homophobia and transphobia in society.’