Why are Macron’s comments about learning about gender and sexual orientation issues controversial in school?

Emmanuel Macron said he opposed learning these subjects in elementary school and hesitated whether they were necessary in college. However, these issues are already covered in sex education courses, which have been mandatory since 2001.
Question asked Saturday April 9th.

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They ask us if lessons on gender and sexual orientation already exist in school curricula, while Emmanuel Macron stated in an interview with Brut on April 8 that this is not the case “not for it being treated in elementary school” Add: “I think it’s way too early. I’m skeptical about college, but my position isn’t set. And continue to contact with the approval of the introduction of such classes in the high school “with extracurricular, conventional medicine and teachers”. A position that is sometimes considered too cautious and unrealistic in social networks.

National Education affirms on its website that sex education “grows through all teachings”. When life and earth sciences courses teach replay in the classroom “4th and 5th we try to raise the issue of sexuality and respect for others”, explains Fabrice Rabat, professor at the College Charles de Gaulle in Ploemeur in Morbihan. However, this pedagogy depends on the teacher. However, the High Council for Equality reported a survey in 2017 which indicated that 88% of Lyon Academy staff had not received training on equality. Gender identity, on the other hand, is not dealt with in these courses, which are limited to teaching biological sex.

Mandatory for over twenty years

That role belongs more to the courts “Sex Education”, Mandatory since 2001. Contrary to what Emmanuel Macron claims in his interview, this topic is already being dealt with by teachers in primary school. From the College, students must benefit from three annual sessions on the subject. The text behind this measure dates from 2001 in a law on voluntary abortion and contraception. From 2016, Article 9 of the Education Law, which regulates these courses, will be modified to clarify the objective of the interventions: “These sessions present an egalitarian vision of relationships between women and men. They help teach respect for the human body.” In August 2021, under the mandate of Emmanuel Macron, the law confirming respect for the principles of the Republic adds that the meetings “Awareness raising for gender-based or sexual violence and female genital mutilation”.

The detail presented on the National Education website is about the approximation “Sex Education” through three prisms: “the biological realm”, “the legal and social realm” etc “the psycho-emotional field”, which includes sexual orientation and the term “gender identity”, essentially corresponding to the genus, the term of which is not mentioned.

Young people not always properly informed

Sarah Durocher, co-president of Planning Familial, which intervenes in 3,000 facilities each year, explains that the association has an approach “People’s Education” : «We’re talking about questions people might have. We’re not going to talk about gender to talk about gender, we’re going to talk about it because it can raise questions And they develop very early, “from elementary school sharing toys. Can a boy cry? what is a girl what is a boy We will challenge stereotypes from the start.”

Trans identity also shows up in the discussion thread when a student “is defined by society as a girl or boy and is not comfortable in this body. It can be a huge suffering to live in schools or changing rooms. The National Education published a circular on this subject in September 2021 “Guidelines” For a “better consideration of gender identity”at school. This does not make any recommendations for teaching on the subject but asks school staff to listen to students and clarifies certain admission conditions such as consenting to name changes within the institutions if parents agree to that decision.

Reflections on gender identity come earlier and earlier because “Social networks have made speech and questions about it free” , remarks Sarah Durocher. She therefore insists on the need to intervene here “A generation that has never been so informed”,to water “Set a framework for what they receive and be aware of what is good and bad information”.

A lesson in empowerment

These interventions may be mandatory, but the High Council for Equality pointed this out in 2016 “Effective application of legal obligations related to sex education in schools remains fragmented, uneven by area because it depends on the good will of the individual.”. Based on a barometer conducted among 3,000 institutions, a quarter of them said they did not establish sex education classes in the 2014-2015 school year. In February 2022, a survey conducted among students by the #NousToutes collective estimated that they had received only 13% of the education required by the 2001 law.

In addition, Sarah Durocher emphasizes how much the concept of gender still appears “a pretty impressive fear”. In 2014, an attempt to create ABCDs of Equality, educational materials to deconstruct gender stereotypes, sparked rumors and protests that were eventually withdrawn.

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