Thousands unite to protest anti-trans bigotry in over 50 French and Belgian cities

Protestors in Paris showing support for trans people.

Thousands of protestors joined together in Paris and other French cities – as well as cities in Belgium – to protest transphobia of all kinds in an awe-inspiring trans rights rally.

Demonstrators across over 50 cities in France and Belgium protested what organisers called an “offensive” against trans people during a Sunday (5 May) protest.

Over 800 groups called for the demonstrations after right-wing senators in France proposed legislation that would mark the return of “conversion therapy” and mitigate trans rights in the country.

According to France’s Interior Ministry, approximately 10,880 people demonstrated across the European country on Sunday, with at least 2,500 protestors gathering at the Place de la Republique in Paris.

Demonstrators could be heard chanting pro-trans slogans and calling for solidarity with trans people all over the world.

“This is our daily life,” one of the organisers told France 24. “Today, there is an urgent need to defend the rights of all people at a time when right-wing and far-right politicians are attacking the rights of trans people and disseminating false information about trans-identifying children.”

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Other protestors shared similar sentiments of anti-patriarchial and anti-capitalist activism across Lyon, Marseille, Montpellier, Brussels, Liège, and many more cities.

Trans rights protestors in Paris
Trans rights protestors in Paris. (Getty)

French activist group Revolution Permanente wrote that the French far-right strategy is the same “as in the United States and the United Kingdom,” accusing right-wing parties of needlessly targeting trans children.

“In the face of these attacks whose disastrous consequences we are aware of in the United States, the United Kingdom and Russia, we need to build a broad front and to place the defence of trans rights in a global response,” a statement continued.

While trans rights remain a divisive subject in France, the country still ranks significantly higher than both the US and UK in LGBTQ+ rights according to the community-driven equality aggregator, Equaldex.

Its Equality Index ranks France as 20th in LGBTQ+ rights, whereas the US and UK are marked as 27th and 28th respectively.

Support for trans and non-binary people remains consistently high, with a 2023 Ipsos survey finding that 77 per cent of French respondents support trans discrimination protections.

So-called conversion therapy is also banned in the country – something that the UK has still yet to ban despite years of waiting.

France does still have more work to do to fully protect trans people, however, with non-binary people still not being recognised and discrimination – both societally and politically – still ever-present.

In March, justice minister Eric Dupond-Moretti issued an apology for the way France has historically treated LGBTQ+ people, who he said suffered “totally unfair repression.