General News

French students protest for trans rights

Rachel Badham December 24, 2020

Students paying tribute to their classmate

Over 100 students gathered in the entrances of Fenelon High School in Lille, France to pay tribute to a 17-year-old trans classmate, Fouad, who committed suicide. According to the Independent, Fouad had only recently come out as a trans woman, but was misgendered and criticised by school staff for wearing a skirt. She shared a video on social media where a member of staff argues her identity is ‘upsetting others in the school’, while Fouad is in tears. 

She was found dead in a shelter where she was staying on Wednesday December 16 – only days after the incident at school. School authorities continued to misgender Fouad in a statement released after her death: “Valérie Cabuil, rector of the Lille Academy, learned with great sadness that a final year student at Lycée Fénelon in Lille ended his life in his foster home on Wednesday. This dramatic event shakes up the entire education community.”

A student at the gathering said: “We are here to send a message of tolerance…and to tell Fouad we are here for her”, with the hope to make a statement for trans rights in France. They also said Fouad “was suffering a deep pain that dates to a long time ago”. French education minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer, tweeted in response to the situation: “Fouad’s death challenges our society about everything we must do to ensure that everyone’s rights are respected.”