20 June 2014

Anti-Gay Movement Growing in France

Papa and Mama
As lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender (LGBT) takes center stage in the on-going battle for same-sex marriage in the United States court room, an initiative of an anti-gay group is also growing in influence in France and parts of Europe.

The initiative Journée de retraite de l’école (JRE) ('Day Off School') encouraged parents to keep their children out of school on specific days to boycott the education system. Members of the initiative contact the parents via social networks or messages on their cell phones.

What they are protesting is the adoption of a new pedagogical programme entitled ABCD de l’égalité ('ABCs of Equality'), which is heating debates in France, especially among parents, and enraging conservatives. The aim of the program, which was introduced in 2013 by the French Minister of Women's Rights Najat Vallaud-Belkacem, is to prevent sexism and stereotype role images in primary schools by teaching the children values of equality of boys and girls, men and women and respect for different sexual identities. The subject is approached from a socio-cultural as well as biological point of view.

During the first day of protest last January 2014, 17,924 students stayed at home. On March 2014, these numbers doubled to around 31,548. Even the number might be understated because what it recorded are reports from parents who have officially joined the initiative and did not include those children of non-members who were kept at home as well.

The initiative is being spearheaded by a civil rights movement, Manif pour tous (Demo for all), a group that vehemently oppose same-sex marriage. They are outraged by the fact that homosexuality is presented to the children as something normal, and that the ideas of the ‘ABCs of equality’ are endangering French children and could 'traumatize' them.

France's Education Minister Vincent Peillon, socialist and Freemason, has been trying for months to downplay the resistance against the state sexualization and re-education program. However, with more and more parents joining the protest and are rejecting the government's attempt to "keep changing the mentality of the students" with the coercive authority of the state, Peillon may want to pack his bags soon.