The French senate voted unanimously last week to prohibit discrimination against transgender people. Unfortunately, the language used to identify the protections was “sexual identity,” which is a less accurate term than “gender identity” as used in other legislation throughout Europe. Still, a number of impassioned speeches preceded the important vote, including from Sen. Michelle Miller (Socialist Party):
MILLER: Transgender people have alerted us to high frequency of harassment and assaults they experience, particularly during the transition period that can last several years. It seems necessary to me to complete the law on discrimination and to add recognition of transphobia.
According to a recent poll, 34 percent of young trans people in France have attempted suicide and 19 percent have been disowned by their family. Those numbers are even higher in the U.S., where 41 percent of trans people have attempted suicide and 57 percent experience significant family rejection. Establishing legal protections are an important first step to reducing anti-trans discrimination, a step the U.S. has yet to take.