Transphobic Paris attack sheds light on LGBT+ attitudes in France

'For once, there is a video that lets us see how trans people are treated on a daily basis,' says campaign group

Zoe Tidman
Friday 05 April 2019 18:42
Transgender woman physically assaulted in Paris at Algerian rally

The attack on a transgender woman in Paris has raised questions over attitudes towards LGBT+ communities in France.

During a rally against Algeria's then-President Abdelaziz Bouteflika last week in French capital, transgender woman Julia was allegedly insulted and punched as she made her way through the crowd.

A video of the attack, shared on Twitter by Stop Homophobie, has been viewed over two million times and started a dialogue over transphobic attitudes in France.

"For once, there is a video that lets us see how trans people are treated on a daily basis," says campaign group SOS Transphobie.

"Trans people are not taken seriously or often the blame is placed on them because they are trans," SOS Transphobie said.

The 31-year-old victim has not shied away from the media following the attack.

"If I am doing this media marathon, it is to increase the visibility of transphobic attacks more than anything else, " Julia - who asked that her full name not be used - told French publication Libération.

"It is also to show those ignorant people that I will come out of this experience with my head high," she added.

Paris prosecutors are treating the attack as driven by gender identity and sexual orientation, the BBC said.

The assault sparked outrage on social media, with the minister for gender equality, Marlène Schiappa, tweeting: "This clearly transphobic attack in the heart of Paris is unacceptable."

"LGBT+ phobic attitudes are not opinions but come from stupidity and hate," Ms Schiappa said.

We have to review how we do sexual education in schools, from primary school, " one Twitter user replied to Stop Homophobie's video.

Homophobia has been much discussed in French media recently, with notable figures either calling out or being called out for homophobic attitudes.

Two LGBT+ rights groups filed a complaint against former French national football player Patrice Evra for homophobic comments, Agence France-Presse said this week.

Evra posted a video on social media taunting Paris Saint-Germain after a Champions League defeat by calling them "pédé", a derogatory word for gay people.

Sports minister Roxana Maracineanu told RMC Sport News this week that she supports matches being stopped for homophobic abuse.

"In the same way that FIFA can stop a match when it hears a racist chant," Ms Maracineanu said, "Why can't it stop a match when it hears a homophobic chant?"

France fell 14 places on the website Spartacus' "gay travel index" from 2017 to 2018. It was the only top 20 country to have a negative index mark for hostility shown towards homosexual couples from local populations.

Last month, two women in their twenties were attacked whilst holding hands in Lyon.

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