Tuesday, January 26

“Teacher’s Notebooks”: teachers facing students with “recurring” homophobic comments

After the suicide in December of a transgender high school student in Lille, AFP questioned its regular correspondents, college teachers, on the notions of gender and transidentity. Here are their testimonials:

– “Better in recent years” –

Céline, 45, professor of history and geography at a REP + college in Haut-Rhin:

“College is really the time when they realize their gender identity.

On transidentity, we are certainly very insufficiently trained. If I was faced with a student wondering about his sexual identity, I would ask my school principal who to talk to, what steps to take. We might turn to associations.

When it comes to homosexuality, we are often forced to set clear limits about what we hear in class. The students understand racism, anti-Semitism, but they have great difficulty understanding homophobia. A student once said to me: + I don’t understand that we are racist, but I don’t like homosexuals, and that’s how it is. He understood that it was a form of exclusion, but for him it was acceptable.

The family context is the most important. We do not weigh as heavily as the big brothers, the religious leaders …

In any case, on these subjects, transidentity, homophobia, there has been better in recent years: all the debates around Marriage for all (law passed in 2013, editor’s note) have been positive. The pupils understand that it is discussed in class, whereas 15 years ago it was taboo. ”

– Religious argument –

Camille, 39, teaches history and geography in a REP + classified college in Yvelines:

“I think that the National Education does nothing to integrate trans students. At the same time, I have never been confronted with this situation.

On the other hand, homophobic remarks are quite recurrent. In some classes, students even seem to think that being homophobic is the norm. They always put forward the same arguments: it’s not natural, it’s against religion …

As far as I’m concerned, the subject is broached when I mention the law on Marriage for All. Very often I have theatrical reactions of rejection. I can quickly put an end to a non-constructive debate by recalling the meaning of this law and the principle of equality.

However, I have had students who took responsibility for their homosexuality.

This was the case for a 3 ° student. We felt that this troubled his comrades. This student ignored provocations. He was one of the winners of the eloquence contest. He arrived dressed in a very colorful way on stage and began to read his lines. It was a luminous, sincere text, in which he explained that before his life was in black and white, but that now he accepted himself, and that his life was very colorful.

He dismantled the religious argument by explaining that if God had created him in this way, it was because he should not be totally against it and that in any case, he alone was entitled to judge it. It was as loud as it was moving and the whole room stood up to cheer him on. ”

– “I don’t want to get involved” –

Philippe, 54, teaches history-geography in a village in Puy-de-Dôme:

“The theme of gender has become” fashionable “over the last few years in our country, but in my class it has not. Why? It is a very personal subject, so the teacher that I am does not want to interfere.

During my now long career, I have had a few students who were seen to be looking for each other in terms of their gender identity.

From my perspective, the few students who appeared to be homosexual did not experience rejection. However, in a playground, homophobic comments of the “queer” type are used, but not necessarily because the target student would be. I’m afraid this is part of some everyday language. ”



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