French teens protest after transgender classmate’s suicide

LILLE, France (AP) — About 100 teenagers rallied in northern France on Friday to pay homage to a transgender student who killed herself this week after facing tensions with school officials for wearing a skirt to class, a case that has drawn online indignation and national attention to the issue of gender identity.

The students held a sit-in and a moment of silence outside the entrance to the Fenelon High School in Lille as school started Friday, expressing their anger and distress at the suicide of their classmate Fouad.

Fouad, 17, killed herself Tuesday in a shelter where she had been staying, the school district said in a statement. She was identified only by her first name according to French policy for protecting minors. A psychological support program was put in place for the students

Activist groups say several thousand people in France are transgender, and that they face routine abuse or discrimination despite regulations against it.

Arnaud Alessandrin, a sociologist at the University of Bordeaux who has written books about gender identity, said the French government is behind European neighbors in terms of transgender rights, and he welcomed the public outcry over Fouad’s death as a sign that awareness is growing.

“A few years ago, people didn’t care” about the suicide of a trans youth, he said. “Today, they are indignant. People are starting to say that it’s not normal.”

Source: French teens protest after transgender classmate’s suicide

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