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When “non-binary” young people knock on the school door

The phenomenon is not massive, but it emerges here and there. Schools are faced with demands around gender identity from some students who no longer want to define themselves in a binary way. Mainly girls who refuse this identity without being part of a transition process.

→ READ. “Identity, talk about it without getting angry”, our dossier

“At Louis Le Grand, several pupils, high school students and students in preparatory class, asked to be designated by a first name other than that of their civil status, reliefthe principal Joël Bianco. I had already had to deal with these situations at the Montaigne school complex, two or three years ago, including at college. “

Camille (1), an English teacher in the Paris region, makes the same observation in the two high schools where she works as a substitute. “I myself was approached by a student who asked me if I would agree to call her by a first name of her choice and to address her as a boy. She told me that she was not sure where she was at, but that she needed to be respected for her decision. On the other hand, she refused to be told about it to her parents, who were not aware of it. “

Catholic education also concerned

The 30-year-old teacher responded favorably. “It was not a problem for me or for that matter for my colleagues. It was all the simpler as the principal of this artistic establishment is already somewhat used to this type of request. “

We also want to be benevolent at Louis Le Grand. “As with any educational situation, it is important to listen and know how to adapt, estimates Joël Bianco. It was sometimes necessary to receive the families because mediation was necessary, but always with the agreement of the student. “

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The phenomenon also concerns Catholic education. Arnaud Patural, director of the Bourges-Center (Cher) school complex, had two requests in his establishment. “A young girl in BTS wanted to be called by a neutral first name, he says. We accepted because we felt in her a great suffering, but also because she was of age. “

“Disparate” and “improvised” responses

Although marginal, these demands are taken very seriously by the Ministry of National Education, which has just published a circular intended for establishments. This text, which is part of the fight against homo- and transphobia, aims to support educational staff faced with these sensitive and sometimes very practical questions, such as “The use of places of privacy”, toilets or changing rooms, to which we are now providing answers “Disparate and often improvised”.

→ INVESTIGATION.These children who change sex

With little training on these subjects, the staff is sometimes confused. Even criticism. “I think that without discernment, adults risk feeding what is related to the fragility of adolescence and the child’s right to seek himself, regrets Arnaud Patural. It is imperative that our institutions protect students. “ The director explains that, last year, he refused a change of first name to a young underage girl, but assures that this year, in terminal, “She no longer talks about it and seems fulfilled”.

The expression of an identity questioning

The headmaster of the other high school where Camille teaches also refused a young girl’s request, arousing the indignation of his comrades, who all asked to change their first name. “These claims are generally the expression of a questioning of identity and a malaise, but it also happens that it is a militant act”, observes the teacher.

The child psychiatrist Daniel Marcelli (2) also sees “A fashion phenomenon amplified by the media resonance”. Adolescents have always gone through a moment of floating identity and so far, only a minority had gender issues, he recalls. “Today, as children are raised from an early age with the idea that they can choose and that their body is theirs, some suffer from a physical transformation imposed on them around puberty. “

The child psychiatrist is convinced that if we told them: “’You have the right to wait before you feel like a girl or a boy”, most young people who claim to be’ non-binary ‘would end up feeling good about their identity a few years later and might even be more respectful the kind of the other. “


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