For International Transgender Awareness Day, the School is rolling out a new campaign to raise awareness against transphobic discrimination.
The International Transgender Awareness Day was held last Thursday, March 31. This event aims to fight against the discrimination faced by transgender people. The Commission for the Prevention of Sexual and Gender-based Violence of ENS de Lyon has therefore worked to design an awareness campaign on this subject, which we have seen on the walls since Monday, March 28. This campaign is part of a national policy for equal rights, against hatred and anti-LGBT+ discrimination, summarized in a National Inter-ministry Plan 2020-23.
Florence Françon, Equality Project Manager and Albert Bonnefous of ArcENSiel, the LGBT+ and Queer association of the School, look back at the campaign and actions implemented within the ENS de Lyon.
Q: Why launch a campaign to raise awareness against transphobic discrimination?
FF: Trans-identities represent an issue in the fight against gender-based violence. This campaign is part of a global awareness-raising approach. It is even more necessary since the Action Unit has received reports of facts that could be qualified as transphobic acts. It is therefore essential to remind ourselves of the legal framework: gender identity is one of the criteria for discrimination and transphobia representing an aggravating circumstance, such as homophobia, sexism and racism, in the case of criminal offences (insults, provocations, defamation).
AB: This awareness campaign is important not only to create a more welcoming space for all transgender people in the School, but also because ENS de Lyon is not isolated from the rest of society. Unfortunately, the growing visibility of trans-identities is accompanied by numerous hate speeches and caricatures about the realities of transgender people, as well as much violence and discrimination. I hope that this awareness campaign will enable more people to join the fight against transphobia.
Q: For all the communities of ENS de Lyon, how can we better understand what this discrimination consists of and how can it be reported or prevented?
AB: Transphobia can take many forms, of varying degrees of violence, but it is often a question of denying the trans-identity of transgender people, for example, by deliberately refusing to use preferred first names or to gender them correctly, whether these people are present or not. It is not just a question of “pleasing” these trans-gender people, but of being caring, understanding, and recognizing the person for who they are. It is also, of course, a question of having no prejudices about someone because of their gender identity, to guarantee equal treatment for everyone.
FF: Firstly, this subject is not limited to our legal framework and is part of the research areas of several laboratories. Prevention requires a better knowledge of the issues identified. As such, ENS de Lyon represents an ideal environment thanks to the seminars and meetings it hosts, the resources available at the BDL, and the initiatives of associations such as arcENSiel. Finally, the Equality Office makes it possible to work on monitoring, training and information campaigns while representing the first contact in the event of a report of discrimination or violence.
See Gouvernment guide Fighting anti-LGBT+ hate and discrimination in higher education (in French)
Q: There is a procedure for the preferred first name, what does it consist of and how can it be adopted by third parties?
FF: At ENS de Lyon, it is indeed possible to request the inclusion of preferred first name on several documents and internal communication media at the School. For this, you don’t have to have taken steps to do so with the Civil Status Office. On the other hand, the preferred first name can only be entered on official documents (school certificate, diploma, employment contract, pay slips ...) once the change has been established at civil status. For any question or to make a request, you can contact me: mission.egalite [at] ens-lyon.fr (mission[dot]egalite[at]ens-lyon[dot]fr) and visit the dedicated page.
AB: This procedure is very good news for all the members of ENS de Lyon. It does not replace the procedure for changing your first name at the civil registry, however having your preferred first name on a student card is an element that makes it possible to strongly support a change of first name in a Civil Status request, a procedure that is still very tedious today. For more information on the Civil Status procedure, please consult the Trans.Posé.e.s website (in French) which is very detailed, or even to contact us directly, whatever your question on the subject!