The National Transgender Association (ANT) of France boycotted a meeting with the Minister for Women’s Rights following a dispute over payment of expenses to enable the group’s provincial members to attend.
ANT were invited, alongside a number of other LGBT organisations to attend an ‘informal meeting’ which would set out the ‘program of government actions against violence and discrimination committed because of sexual orientation and gender identity’.
In an open letter to the Minister, Madame Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, spokeswoman for ANT, Stéphanie Nicot, highlights the active role played by the association in government consultations to date, including participation in working groups on employment discrimination, violence against LGBT individuals and combating transphobia.
However, she adds: ‘The regular participation puts a heavy cost on an association like ours, faced with a low contribution rate, which is the inevitable result of employment discrimination against transgender people.
‘In refusing to refund TGV (rail) tickets for those leaders of our association based in the provinces, you have made it very difficult for the rich variety of our regional membership to attend.’
She added: ‘May we remind you that the health minister under the previous government, despite being the last person we might expect to see eye to eye with the transgender community, reimbursed travel expenses in respect of consultation meetings we had with him.’
Despite this boycott, M Nicot is keen to stress that this is not a complete breakdown in relations.
She said: “Our symbolic gesture…is a means to bring to your attention the tens of thousands of transgender people who are awaiting firm actions from the government of Jean-Marc Ayrault, especially a bill granting the right to change in marital status freely and without restriction, which would mark a truly republican respect for gender identity.’
The French Ministry for Women’s Rights has been asked for a response, but so far has not come back to us.