LGBT people in French Polynesia follow French equal marriage and adoption debates

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Now that the debate on France’s equal marriage and adoption law has gone before parliament, French Polynesia has begun watching the early stages closely.

On Tuesday, following months of debate and controversy over the issue of equal marriage and gay adoption, proposals to allow it went befor French parliament.

The proposed laws would legalise equal marriage, and therefore allow gay couples to adopt children, through legal marriage status.

The LGBT community were following developments in the French parliament as they took place, Radio Australia reported.

In Tahiti, transgender people are known as Rae Rae.

A politician in Tahiti, Sabrina Birk, said the LGBT community want the right to have children. She said: “When you get old, you want to have the right to be loved by your children, and when we look at older people, they always have their children around them,” she said.

“When you look at homosexuals and when you look at the Rae Raes, they grow old all by themselves.”

She went on to say that the trans community in French Polynesia faced discrimination when it came to employment, but there were signs that it was slowly changing.

She said that, due to an increased level of exposure in the media, some trans people were now able to attend school openly.

“It all depends on certain teachers – some teachers accept, some don’t,” she said.

“Mentalities are changing, but the older generation…these are the people that are against the expression of femininity in matters of Rae Raes.”They would like the Rae Raes to dress as men, have men’s names and cut their hair very short like men.”

Starting late in 2012, there have been several large-scale demonstrations both for and against equal marriage.

On Sunday, as many as a quarter of a million people gathered in the French cities of Paris and Lyon to support plans to introduce same-sex marriage equality.

The previous week, a ‘March for All’ attracted an estimated 340,000 to 800,000 people to the Champs-de-Mars to oppose marriage equality. The organisers were handed a €100,000 bill to clean up the area by the city’s gay mayor.

In November, thousands of pro-equality demonstrators turned up to rally at the National Assembly in Paris, to show support for equal marriage and adoption rights for same-sex couples.

On 7 November 2012, French President Francois Hollande’s government approved the bill to legalise equal marriage and allow gay couples to adopt.  

When he approved the bill, the same day that three US states – MaineMaryland and Washington – legalised equal marriage, President Hollande told his cabinet that it would mean “progress not only for individuals but for the whole of society”.

The President had previously conceded that the religious opponents of his equal marriage plans were proving to be “tough” to deal with.

Valérie Trierweiler, the partner of the French President, showed her support for moves to make marriage equal by announcing that she will be a witness at one of the first same-sex marriages.

After the two-week debate, the parliament is expected to vote on the measure in coming weeks.