French schools to replace ‘mother’ and ‘father’ with gender neutral terms

French schools to replace ‘mother’ and ‘father’ with neutral terms

Schools in France are set to replace the words “mother” and “father” with gender neutral terms “parent 1” and “parent 2” on official documents in an attempt to curb discrimination against same-sex parents.

The new measure is outlined in an amendment to France’s School of Trust Bill and has passed a first reading by the country’s National Assembly on February 12, French newspaper Le Figaro reported.

Supporters of the amendment argue that change is needed to acknowledge the existence of same-sex parents.

Valérie Petit, MP for the REM party, said the amendment aims “to root in law children’s family diversity in administrative forms submitted in school,” according to the Telegraph.

“We have families who find themselves faced with tick boxes stuck in rather old-fashioned social and family models. For us, this article is a measurement of social equality,” Petit added.

The amendment says: “To prevent discrimination, school enrolment, class registers, parental authorisations and all other official forms involving children must mention only Parent 1 and Parent 2.”

Gender neutral terms

The amendment was first raised in 2013, when France legalised same-sex marriage.

The change in law will now have to be approved by France’s Senate, and will then go back to the National Assembly for a final reading.

The change has prompted a debate on social media, with many arguing for and against French schools adopting gender neutral terms “parent 1” and “parent 2” instead of “mother” and “father.”

“For us, this article is a measurement of social equality.”

– Valérie Petit

One Twitter user, Gary Roustan, pointed out that nobody has taken issue with the use of “declarant 1” and “declarant 2” for tax purposes in France.

Others took issue with how parents would decide who would be identified as “parent 1” and “parent 2.”

Schools in France to replace 'mother' and 'father' with gender neutral terms

French schools to replace ‘mother’ and ‘father’ with gender neutral terms (JACQUES DEMARTHON/AFP/Getty)

This is not the first instance meant to tackling LGBT+ discrimination in France.

Last month, the government launched a new campaign to tackle anti-LGBT+ bullying in middle and high schools.

Anti-LGBT+ bullying in France

France’s Ministry for Education and Youth launched All Equal, All Allies in January, which will see all state schools putting up posters and providing guides about LGBT+ issues.

The move was welcomed by anti-homophobia organisation SOS Homophobie, who said that anti-LGBT+ bullying is a daily reality for thousands of queer students in France.

A report by that organisation from last year found that there had been a 38 percent increase in reports of homophobic acts in schools.

Same-sex parents rights in France

Same-sex parents have been legally allowed to adopt children in France since May 2013, when same-sex marriage came into effect.

However, IVF has been a contentious issue for same-sex female couples, as the medical practice has only been available to opposite sex couples in France for several decades.

IVF has been available in France since the 1980s, but was only offered to opposite sex couples who could prove that they were married or cohabiting for two years.

Single women – or women who do not share finances with their partner – as well as same-sex couples have not qualified for IVF as a result of this.

However, France’s highest court ruled last summer that there is no constitutional or legal reason that single women or women in same-sex partnerships can be denied IVF.