LGBT rights in France

Last updated

EU-France.svg
Status Legal since 1791,
age of consent (re)equalised in 1982
Gender identity Transgender people allowed to change legal gender without surgery
Military LGBT people allowed to serve openly
Discrimination protections Sexual orientation and gender identity protections (see below)
Family rights
Recognition of relationships Civil solidarity pact since 1999/2009
Same-sex marriage since 2013
Adoption LGBT individuals and same-sex couples allowed to adopt

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights in France have been seen as traditionally liberal. [1] Although same-sex sexual activity was a capital crime that often resulted in the death penalty during the Ancien Régime, all sodomy laws were repealed in 1791 during the French Revolution. However, a lesser known indecent exposure law that often targeted homosexuals was introduced in 1960 before being repealed twenty years later.

Cultural liberalism is a liberal view of society that stresses the freedom of individuals from cultural norms and in the words of Henry David Thoreau is often expressed as the right to "march to the beat of a different drummer".

Ancien Régime Monarchic, aristocratic, social and political system established in the Kingdom of France from approximately the 15th century until the later 18th century

The Ancien Régime was the political and social system of the Kingdom of France from the Late Middle Ages until 1789, when hereditary monarchy and the feudal system of French nobility were abolished by the French Revolution. The Ancien Régime was ruled by the late Valois and Bourbon dynasties. The term is occasionally used to refer to the similar feudal systems of the time elsewhere in Europe. The administrative and social structures of the Ancien Régime were the result of years of state-building, legislative acts, internal conflicts, and civil wars, but they remained and the Valois Dynasty's attempts at re-establishing control over the scattered political centres of the country were hindered by the Huguenot Wars. Much of the reigns of Henry IV and Louis XIII and the early years of Louis XIV were focused on administrative centralization. Despite, however, the notion of "absolute monarchy" and the efforts by the kings to create a centralized state, the Kingdom of France retained its irregularities: authority regularly overlapped and nobles struggled to retain autonomy.

Sodomy anal or oral sex with people, any sex with an animal, non-procreative sex

Sodomy or buggery is generally anal or oral sex between people or sexual activity between a person and a non-human animal (bestiality), but it may also mean any non-procreative sexual activity. Originally, the term sodomy, which is derived from the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in the Book of Genesis, was commonly restricted to anal sex. Sodomy laws in many countries criminalized the behavior. In the Western world, many of these laws have been overturned or are not routinely enforced.

The age of consent for same-sex sexual activity was altered more than once before being equalised in 1982 under then–President of France François Mitterrand. After granting same-sex couples domestic partnership benefits known as the civil solidarity pact, France became the thirteenth country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage in 2013. Laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity were enacted in 1985 and 2012, respectively. In 2010, France became the first country in the world to declassify transgenderism as a mental illness. Additionally, since 2017, transgender people have been allowed to change their legal gender without undergoing surgery or receiving any medical diagnosis. [2]

The age of consent is the age at which a person is considered to be legally competent to consent to sexual acts. Consequently, an adult who engages in sexual activity with a person younger than the age of consent cannot claim that the sexual activity was consensual, and such sexual activity may be considered child sexual abuse or statutory rape. The person below the minimum age is regarded as the victim and their sex partner is regarded as the offender, unless both are underage. The purpose of setting an age of consent is to protect an underage person from sexual advances.

President of France head of state of France

The President of France, officially the President of the French Republic, is the executive head of state of France in the French Fifth Republic. In French terms, the presidency is the supreme magistracy of the country.

François Mitterrand 21st President of the French Republic

François Maurice Adrien Marie Mitterrand was a French politician and statesman who was President of France from 1981 to 1995, the longest time in office in the history of France. As First Secretary of the Socialist Party, he was the first left-wing politician to assume the presidency under the Fifth Republic.

France has frequently been named one of the most gay friendly countries in the world. [2] Recent polls have indicated that a majority of the French support same-sex marriage and in 2013, [3] another poll indicated that 77% of the French population believed homosexuality should be accepted by society, one of the highest in the 39 countries polled. [4] Paris has been named by many publications as one of the most gay friendly cities in the world, with Le Marais, Quartier Pigalle and Bois de Boulogne being said to have a thriving LGBT community and nightlife. [5]

French people are a Romance ethnic group and nation who are identified with the country of France. This connection may be ethnic, legal, historical, or cultural.

Paris Capital of France

Paris is the capital and most populous city of France, with an area of 105 square kilometres and an official estimated population of 2,140,526 residents as of 1 January 2019. Since the 17th century, Paris has been one of Europe's major centres of finance, diplomacy, commerce, fashion, science, and the arts. The City of Paris is the centre and seat of government of the Île-de-France, or Paris Region, which has an estimated official 2019 population of 12,213,364, or about 18 percent of the population of France. The Paris Region had a GDP of €709 billion in 2017. According to the Economist Intelligence Unit Worldwide Cost of Living Survey in 2018, Paris was the second most expensive city in the world, after Singapore, and ahead of Zürich, Hong Kong, Oslo and Geneva. Another source ranked Paris as most expensive, on a par with Singapore and Hong Kong, in 2018.

Quartier Pigalle human settlement in France

Pigalle is an area in Paris around the Place Pigalle, on the border between the 9th and the 18th arrondissements. It is named after the sculptor Jean-Baptiste Pigalle (1714–1785).

Law regarding same-sex sexual activity

Gay Pride, Paris 2008 Gay Pride Paris 2008 n5.jpg
Gay Pride, Paris 2008

Sodomy laws

Before the French Revolution, sodomy was a serious crime. Jean Diot and Bruno Lenoir were the last homosexuals burned to death on 6 July 1750. [6] The first French Revolution decriminalised homosexuality when the Penal Code of 1791 made no mention of same-sex relations in private. This policy on private sexual conduct was kept in the Penal Code of 1810, and followed in nations and French colonies that adopted the Code. Still, homosexuality and cross-dressing were widely seen as being immoral, and LGBT people were still subjected to legal harassment under various laws concerning public morality and order. Some homosexuals from the regions of Alsace and Lorraine, which were annexed by Nazi Germany in 1940, were persecuted and interned in concentration camps. Homosexuals were also persecuted under the Vichy Regime, despite there being no laws criminalizing homosexuality.

French Revolution Revolution in France, 1789 to 1798

The French Revolution was a period of far-reaching social and political upheaval in France and its colonies beginning in 1789. The Revolution overthrew the monarchy, established a republic, catalyzed violent periods of political turmoil, and finally culminated in a dictatorship under Napoleon who brought many of its principles to areas he conquered in Western Europe and beyond. Inspired by liberal and radical ideas, the Revolution profoundly altered the course of modern history, triggering the global decline of absolute monarchies while replacing them with republics and liberal democracies. Through the Revolutionary Wars, it unleashed a wave of global conflicts that extended from the Caribbean to the Middle East. Historians widely regard the Revolution as one of the most important events in human history.

Homosexuality is romantic attraction, sexual attraction, or sexual behavior between members of the same sex or gender. As a sexual orientation, homosexuality is "an enduring pattern of emotional, romantic, and/or sexual attractions" to people of the same sex. It "also refers to a person's sense of identity based on those attractions, related behaviors, and membership in a community of others who share those attractions."

Cross-dressing Practice of dressing and acting in a style or manner traditionally associated with the opposite sex

Cross-dressing is the act of wearing items of clothing and other accoutrements commonly associated with the opposite sex within a particular society. Cross-dressing has been used for purposes of disguise, comfort, and self-expression in modern times and throughout history.

An age of consent was introduced on 28 April 1832. It was fixed to 11 years for both sexes, and later raised to 13 years in 1863. On 6 August 1942, the Vichy Government introduced a discriminative law in the Penal Code: article 334 (moved to article 331 on 8 February 1945 by the Provisional Government of the French Republic) [7] increased the age of consent to 21 for homosexual relations and 15 for heterosexual ones. The age of 21 was then lowered to 18 in 1974, which had become the age of legal majority. [8] This law remained valid until 4 August 1982, when it was repealed under President François Mitterrand to equalise the age of consent at 15 years of age, [9] despite the vocal opposition of Jean Foyer in the French National Assembly. [10]

Provisional Government of the French Republic former country

The Provisional Government of the French Republic (PGFR; French: Gouvernement provisoire de la République française was an interim government of Free France between 1944 and 1946 following the liberation of continental France after Operations Overlord and Dragoon, and lasted until the establishment of the French Fourth Republic. Its establishment marked the official restoration and re-establishment of a provisional French Republic, assuring continuity with the defunct French Third Republic.

Jean Foyer French politician

Jean Foyer was a French politician and minister. He studied law and became a law professor at the university. He wrote several books about French Civil law.

Indecent exposure

A less known discriminative law was adopted in 1960, inserting into the Penal Code (article 330, 2nd alinea) a clause that doubled the penalty for indecent exposure for homosexual activity. This ordonnance was intended to repress pimping. [11] The clause against homosexuality was adopted due to a wish of Parliament, as follows:

Indecent exposure Public indecency involving nudity of some sort

Indecent exposure is the deliberate exposure in public or in view of the general public by a person of a portion or portions of their body in circumstances where the exposure is contrary to local moral or other standards of appropriate behavior. The term indecent exposure is a legal expression. Social and community attitudes to the exposing of various body parts and laws covering what is referred to as indecent exposure vary significantly in different countries. It ranges from outright prohibition to prohibition of exposure of certain body parts, such as the genital area, buttocks or breasts.

<i>Ordonnance</i> Type of temporary statute law in France

In French politics, an ordonnance is a statutory instrument issued by the Council of Ministers in an area of law normally reserved for primary legislation enacted by the French Parliament. They function as temporary statutes pending ratification by the Parliament; failing ratification they function as mere executive regulations.

This ordonnance was adopted by the executive after it was authorised by Parliament to take legislative measures against national scourges such as alcoholism. Paul Mirguet, a Member of the National Assembly, felt that homosexuality was also a scourge, and thus proposed a sub-amendment, therefore known as the Mirguet amendment, tasking the Government to enact measures against homosexuality, which was adopted. [12] [13]

Article 330 alinea 2 was repealed in 1980 as part of an act redefining several sexual offenses. [14]

Recognition of same-sex relationships

Civil solidarity pacts (PACS), a form of registered domestic partnerships, were enacted in 1999 for both same-sex and unmarried opposite-sex couples by the Government of Lionel Jospin. Couples who enter into a PACS contract are afforded most of the legal protections, rights, and responsibilities of marriage. The right to adoption and artificial insemination are, however, denied to PACS partners (and are largely restricted to married couples). Unlike married couples, they were originally not allowed to file joint tax returns until after 3 years, though this was repealed in 2005. [15]

Civil unions/domestic partnerships conducted under laws in foreign countries are only recognised for a few countries. Registered civil partnerships in the United Kingdom are not recognised – the only solution currently available for a couple in a civil partnership to gain PACS rights in France is to dissolve their civil partnership and then establish a PACS. Registered partnerships from the Netherlands, by contrast, are already recognised. This does not, however, allow for dual citizenship, which is reserved for married couples. For example, a French citizen who enters into a registered partnership with a Dutch citizen in the Netherlands, and therefore assumes Dutch nationality, automatically loses their French citizenship.

After the Caribbean Netherlands, the French departments of Guadeloupe and Martinique and the overseas collectivities of Saint Martin and Saint Barthelemy are the second group of Caribbean islands to perform same-sex weddings. Same-sex legislation Lesser Antilles (named).svg
After the Caribbean Netherlands, the French departments of Guadeloupe and Martinique and the overseas collectivities of Saint Martin and Saint Barthélemy are the second group of Caribbean islands to perform same-sex weddings.

On 14 June 2011, the National Assembly of France voted 293–222 against legalising same-sex marriage. [16] Deputies of the majority party Union for a Popular Movement voted mostly against the measure, while deputies of the Socialist Party mostly voted in favor. Members of the Socialist Party stated that legalisation of same-sex marriage would become a priority should they gain a majority in the 2012 elections. [17] On 7 May 2012, François Hollande won the election. In October, a new marriage bill was introduced by the French Government. [18] On 2 February 2013, the National Assembly approved Article 1 of the bill, by 249 votes against 97. [19] On 12 February 2013, the National Assembly approved the bill as a whole in a 329–229 vote and sent it to the country's Senate. [20] The majority of the ruling Socialist Party voted in favor of the bill (only 4 of its members voted no) while the majority of the opposition party UMP voted against it (only 2 of its members voted yes). [21]

On 4 April 2013, the Senate started the debate on the bill and five days later it approved its first article in a 179–157 vote. [22] On 12 April, the Senate approved the bill with minor amendments. On 23 April, the National Assembly approved the amended bill by a vote of 331 to 225, thus extended marriage and adoption rights to same-sex couples, making France the 13th country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage. [1]

However, a challenge to the law by the conservative UMP party was filed with the Constitutional Council following the vote. [23] [24] On 17 May 2013, the Council ruled that the law is constitutional. [25] On 18 May 2013, President Francois Hollande signed the bill into law, [26] which was officially published the next day in the Journal officiel. [27] The first official same-sex ceremony took place on 29 May in the city of Montpellier. [28]

Adoption and family planning

Same-sex couples have been legally able to adopt children since May 2013, when the same-sex marriage law took effect. The first joint adoption by a same-sex couple was announced on 18 October 2013. [29] [30]

In April 2018, the Association of Gay and Lesbian Parents reported that only 4 same-sex couples had been able to jointly adopt a child (apart from stepchild adoptions), [31] and the Association of LGBT Families (ADFH) reported that "some families" were able to foster a French child and "less than ten" families were able to foster a foreign child. [32]

As of 2019, lesbian couples do not have access to assisted reproductive technology. "Procréation médicalement assistée" (PMA) is only available to heterosexual couples in France. A poll in 2012 showed that 51% of the French population supported allowing lesbian couples to access it. [33] The French Socialist Party also supports it. [34] In June 2017, a spokesperson for French President Emmanuel Macron stated that the Government intends to legislate to allow assisted reproduction for lesbian couples. This followed a report by an independent ethics panel in France which recommended that PMA law be revised to include lesbian couples and single people. [35] Marlène Schiappa, the Minister for Gender Equality, said that a bill to allow lesbian couples and single women to access assisted reproduction would likely pass the Parliament in 2018, but a vote was delayed. [36] In 2017, a poll indicated that 64% of the French people supported the extension of assisted reproduction to lesbian couples. [37] In July 2018, MP Guillaume Chiche introduced a bill to legalise assisted reproduction for lesbian couples and single women. [38] [39] In June 2019, Prime Minister Édouard Philippe told the National Assembly that government legislation will be examined in the Assembly from the end of September 2019. [40] [41] [42] [43] The first article of the legislation was adopted by the National Assembly on 27 September 2019 by a vote of 55-17. [44]

Up until 2015, France refused to recognise surrogate children as French citizens. This left many such children in legal limbo. On 5 July 2017, the Court of Cassation ruled that a child born to a surrogate abroad can be adopted by the partner of his or her biological father. In another ruling, the court ruled that French authorities are not obliged to automatically recognise two parents listed on a foreign birth certificate, but it ruled that the partner could apply to adopt the child, in line with the 2013 law allowing both same-sex marriages and adoptions. [45] That same year, the Tribunal de grande instance de Paris granted French citizenship to twin boys born through surrogacy in Ontario, Canada to a same-sex couple (of which both partners have French citizenship). However, it refused to register the children in the vital records. In May 2019, the Court of Appeal of Paris reversed certain parts of the decision, holding that the Canadian birth certificate must be recognised by the French state. [46]

Between May 2013 and May 2019, 10 same-sex adoptions occurred in Paris. [47]

Discrimination protections

In 1985, national legislation was enacted to prohibit sexual orientation based discrimination in employment, housing and other public and private provisions of services and goods. [2] In July 2012, the French Parliament added sexual identity to the protected grounds of discrimination in French law. The phrase sexual identity was used synonymous with gender identity despite some criticism from ILGA-Europe, who nevertheless still considered it an important step. [48] [49] On 18 November 2016, a new law amended article 225-1 of the French Penal Code and replaced "sexual identity" with "gender identity". [50]

Chapter 2 of the Labour Code (French : Code du travail) [lower-alpha 1] reads as follows: [51]

Discrimination in schools

In March 2008, Xavier Darcos, Minister of Education, announced a policy fighting against all forms of discrimination, including homophobia, in schools, one of the first in the world. It was one of 15 national priorities of education for the 2008–2009 school year.

The Fédération Indépendante et Démocratique Lycéenne (FIDL; Independent and Democratic Federation of High School Students) – the first high school student union in France – has also launched campaigns against homophobia in schools and among young people.

In January 2019, the Ministry of Education launched a new campaign to tackle anti-LGBT bullying in schools. The campaign, called Tous égaux, tous alliés (All equal, all allied), helps students access services to report bullying, established a helpline for students and staff to use, and requires all French schools to provide guidance about LGBT issues. The 17th May, the International Day Against Homophobia, will also be a special day to promote actions of sensitisation. [52] [53]

In February 2019, it was reported that France uses the words "parent 1" and "parent 2" rather than "mother" and "father" on application forms to enroll children into schools. This caused widespread outrage among conservatives in France, despite both same-sex marriage and LGBT adoption having being legal in the country for six years. [54]

Hate crime laws

On 31 December 2004, the National Assembly approved an amendment to existing anti-discrimination legislation, making homophobic, sexist, racist, xenophobic etc. comments illegal. The maximum penalty of a €45,000 fine and/or 12 months imprisonment has been criticised by civil liberty groups such as Reporters Without Borders as a serious infringement on free speech. But the conservative Government of President Jacques Chirac pointed to a rise in anti-gay violence as justification for the measure. Ironically, an MP in Chirac's own UMP party, Christian Vanneste, became the first person to be convicted under the law in January 2006 although this conviction was later cancelled by the Court of Cassation after a refused appeal. [55]

The law of December 2004 created the Haute autorité de lutte contre les discriminations et pour l'égalité (High Authority against Discrimination and for Equality). Title 3 and Articles 20 and 21 of the law amended the Law on the Freedom of the Press of 29 July 1881 to make provisions for more specific offenses including injury, defamation, insult, incitement to hatred or violence, or discrimination against a person or group of persons because of their gender, sexual orientation or disability.

When a physical assault or murder is motivated by the sexual orientation of the victim, the law increases the penalties that are normally given.

In October 2018, after a rise in a series of homophobic attacks, President Emmanuel Macron denounced the homophobic violence as being "unworthy of France", announcing future "concrete measures". He tweeted: "Homophobic violence must be a concern for our entire society. They are unworthy of France. Concrete measures will be announced but they [cannot] replace humanity and tolerance which are at the heart of our culture", without specifying the content of these future measures. [56] [57] [58]

Gender identity and expression

Transgender rights protest, Paris 2005 Manifestation pour les droits des personnes trans 2005.jpg
Transgender rights protest, Paris 2005

Transsexual persons are allowed to change their legal sex.

In 2010, France removed gender identity disorder as a diagnosis by decree, [59] [60] [61] but according to French transgender rights organizations, beyond the impact of the announcement itself, nothing changed. [62] Transsexualism is part of the ALD 31 (fr) and treatment is funded by Sécurité Sociale. [63]

Discrimination on the basis of gender identity (sexual identity) has been banned since 2012. [48] [49] In 2016, the term "sexual identity" was replaced by "gender identity". [50]

On 6 November 2015, a bill to allow transgender people to legally change their gender without the need for sex reassignment surgery and forced sterilisation was approved by the French Senate. [64] On 24 May 2016, the National Assembly approved the bill. [64] [65] [66] MP Pascale Crozon, who introduced the bill, reminded MPs before the vote about the long, uncertain and humiliating procedures by which transgender people must go through to change their gender on their vital records. Due to differing texts, a joint session was established. On 12 July 2016, the National Assembly approved a modified version of the bill which maintained the provisions outlawing psychiatrist certificates and proofs of sex reassignment surgery, while also dropping the original bill's provision of allowing self-certification of gender. [67] On 28 September, the French Senate discussed the bill. [68] The French National Assembly then met on 12 October in a plenary session to approve the bill once more and rejected amendments proposed by the French Senate which would have required proof of medical treatment. [69] [70] On 17 November, the Constitutional Council ruled that the bill is constitutional. [71] [72] It was signed by the President on 18 November 2016, published in the Journal officiel the next day, [73] and took effect on 1 January 2017. [74]

In 2017, transphobia became a cause of aggravation for all crimes that can be punished by prison. [75]

Intersex rights

Intersex people in France have some of the same rights as other people, but with significant gaps in protection from non-consensual medical interventions and protection from discrimination. In response to pressure from intersex activists and recommendations by United Nations Treaty Bodies, the Senate published an inquiry into the treatment of intersex people in February 2017. An individual, Gaëtan Schmitt, is currently taking legal action to obtain "neutral sex" (sexe neutre) classification. [76] On 17 March 2017, the President of the Republic, François Hollande, described medical interventions to make the bodies of intersex children more typically male or female as increasingly considered to be mutilations. [77]

Conversion therapy

Conversion therapy has a negative effect on the lives of LGBT people, and can lead to low self-esteem, depression and suicidal ideation. The pseudoscientific practice is believed to include electroconvulsive therapy, exorcisms, starvation or, especially, talk therapy. A French survivor of a conversion therapy workshop described the practice as "psychological rape". The extent of the practice in France is unknown. The association Le Refuge estimated that around 3% to 4% of its helpline calls dealt with the issue. In summer 2019, MP Laurence Vanceunebrock-Mialon announced her intention to introduce a proposal to the National Assembly in early 2020 to prohibit the usage of such 'treatments'. Punishments would be two years' imprisonment and/or a fine of 30,000 euros. [78] [79]

Military service

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals are allowed to serve openly in the French Armed Forces. [80] [81]

Blood donation

A circulaire from the Directorate General of Health, which dates back to 20 June 1983 at the height of the HIV epidemy, banned men who have sex with men (MSM) from donating blood. However, it was recalled by a ministerial decree on 12 January 2009. [82]

On 3 April 2015, a deputy member of the Union of Democrats and Independents, Arnaud Richard, presented an amendment against the exclusion of MSM, which was eventually adopted later in the same month. [83] In November 2015, Minister of Health Marisol Touraine announced that gay and bisexual men in France can donate blood after 1 year of abstinence. This policy was implemented and went into effect on 10 July 2016. [84] [85]

In July 2019, Minister of Health Agnès Buzyn announced that the deferral period would be reduced to four months of abstinence from February 2020. [86]

LGBT rights movement in France

Gay pride parade in Toulouse in June 2011 Gayprideinfrance.jpg
Gay pride parade in Toulouse in June 2011
Paris Pride is held annually at the end of June, and attracts thousands of attendees. Paris, gaypride 2015 - Flickr 19227540475.jpg
Paris Pride is held annually at the end of June, and attracts thousands of attendees.

LGBT rights organisations in France include Act Up Paris, SOS Homophobie, Arcadie, FHAR (Front homosexuel d'action révolutionnaire), Gouines rouges, GLH (Groupe de libération homosexuelle), CUARH (Comité d'urgence anti-répression homosexuelle), L'Association Trans Aide, ("Trans Aid Association", established in September 2004) and Bi'Cause.

The first pride parade in France was held in Paris on 4 April 1981 at the Place Maubert. It was organised by CUARH, and saw the participation of around 10,000 people. Paris Pride (Marche des Fiertés de Paris) is held annually in June. Its turnout has increased significantly since the 1980s, reaching around 100,000 participants in the late 1990s. Its 2019 edition saw a turnout of 500,000 people. [87] The event is the third-largest in the city, following the Paris Marathon and the Paris Techno Parade, and includes about 60 associations, various human rights groups, political parties and several companies.

Outside Paris, pride events are also held in numerous cities around the country, including Rennes and Marseille, which held their first in 1994. Nantes, Montpellier and Toulouse organised their first pride festivals in 1995, followed by Lyon, Lille, Bordeaux, Grenoble, Cannes and Aix-en-Provence in 1996, Rouen, Biarritz, [88] Angers and Poitiers in 2000, and Caen and Strasbourg in 2001. Others including Auxerre, Dijon, Nice and Avignon also hold pride events. [89]

Public opinion

The Mayor of Paris between 2001 and 2014, Bertrand Delanoë, publicly revealed his homosexuality in 1998, before his first election in 2001.

In December 2006, an Ipsos-MORI Eurobarometer survey conducted showed that 62% supported same-sex marriage, while 37% were opposed. 55% believed gay and lesbian couples should not have parenting rights, while 44% believed same-sex couples should be able to adopt. [90]

In June 2011, an Ifop poll found that 63% of respondents were in favour of same-sex marriage, while 58% supported adoption rights for same-sex couples. [3] In 2012, an Ifop poll showed that 90% of French perceived homosexuality like one way as another to live their sexuality. [91]

A 2013 Pew Research Center opinion survey showed that 77% of the French population believed homosexuality should be accepted by society, while 22% believed it should not. [4] Younger people were more accepting: 81% of people between 18 and 29 believed it should be accepted, 79% of people between 30 and 49 and 74% of people over 50.

In May 2015, PlanetRomeo, an LGBT social network, published its first Gay Happiness Index (GHI). Gay men from over 120 countries were asked about how they feel about society's view on homosexuality, how do they experience the way they are treated by other people and how satisfied are they with their lives. France was ranked 21st, just above South Africa and below Australia, with a GHI score of 63. [92]

A 2017 Pew Research Center poll found that 73% of French people were in favour of same-sex marriage, while 23% were opposed. [93]

Overseas departments and territories

Same-sex marriage is legal in all of France's overseas departments and territories. Despite this, acceptance of homosexuality and same-sex relationships tends to be lower than in metropolitan France, as residents are in general more religious, and religion plays a bigger role in public life. Many of these societies are very family and tribe-oriented where family honor is highly regarded. In some of these territories, homosexuality is occasionally perceived as "foreign" and "practiced only by the white population". [94] The first same-sex marriages in Saint Martin and French Polynesia caused public demonstrations against such marriages. [95] [96] Ignorance about homosexuality can lead to violence and hatred, or on the other hand curiosity. A 2014 study showed that about 20% of Overseas residents saw homosexuality as a sexuality like any other, compared to 77% in metropolitan France. Nevertheless, the 2013 same-sex marriage law has resulted in increased discussion about the previously taboo and neglected topic. LGBT people have gained notable visibility since 2013. [97]

Of the 27 overseas deputies in the French Parliament, 11 (2 from Mayotte, 3 from Réunion, 1 from French Guiana, 1 from Guadeloupe, 1 from Martinique, 2 from New Caledonia and 1 from Saint Pierre and Miquelon) voted in favor of same-sex marriage, 11 (2 from Guadeloupe, 3 from Martinique, 3 from French Polynesia, 2 from Réunion and 1 from Saint Martin and Saint Barthélemy) voted against, 1 (from French Guiana) abstained and 3 (1 each from Réunion, Guadeloupe and Wallis and Futuna) were not present during the vote. [98]

The group Let's go (French Creole: An Nou Allé) is an LGBT organization active in the French Caribbean. Other groups include AIDES Territoire Martinique, KAP Caraïbe, Tjenbé Rèd Prévention and SAFE SXM (originally from Sint Maarten). Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint Martin and Saint Barthélemy are famous internationally for their beaches and tourist attractions, which include gay bars, discos, saunas and beaches. [99] The first "Caribbean Gay Pride" was held in the Martinique city of Le Carbet in June 2017. Regarded as successful, the event was attended by a few thousand people and included a beach party and musical dances. [100] In addition, Saint Barthélemy's reputation as an international celebrity tourist destination has resulted in a more open and relaxed social climate for LGBT people than the other French Caribbean territories. [97]

LGBT people in New Caledonia are widely accepted, and enjoy a large nightlife and dating scene. [101] This is much more notable in the South Province than the Kanak-majority North Province or the Loyalty Islands. According to a 2008 survey, 65% of boys and 77% of girls in New Caledonia agreed with the statement "homosexuals are people like everybody else". However, the Kanak people reported a lower acceptance. In 2006, Lifou Island proposed a "family code", which sought to ban homosexuality and foresee punishments of eviction or lynching for homosexuals. The proposal never got approved. [97]

Similarly, Réunion is known for being welcoming to LGBT people and has been described as a "gay-friendly haven in Africa". In 2007, the local tourism authorities launched a "gay-welcoming" charter in tour operators, hotels, bars and restaurants. There are famous gay beaches in Saint-Leu and L'Étang-Salé. [102] The association LGBT Réunion organised the island's first pride parade in October 2012. [103] Mayotte, on the other hand, is overwhelmingly Muslim and possesses a strong Arab-Bantu culture. This heavily influences public perception of the LGBT community, as there have been frequent reports of family rejections, harassment and discrimination on the island. Homosexuality is typically a taboo topic among the Mahorais, and many LGBT people have chosen to move to neighbouring Réunion or to metropolitan France. [94] Nevertheless, the first same-sex marriage in Mayotte, the first in a majoritarily Muslim jurisdiction, was performed in September 2013 with little fanfare. [104] Mayotte has a long-standing tradition of sarambavis, which in Shimaore refers to men who choose the follow "the law of women", and thus dress, act and behave as women and partake in traditional female activities. In recent years, the term has been used as an insult towards homosexuals. [97]

The gay scene is more limited in French Guiana, though local LGBT people have reported a "growing sense of acceptance", which many attribute to French Guiana's closely knit families and communities. [105] Homosexuality tends to be more taboo among the Amerindian and Bushinengue people, where the pressure to conform and to marry a heterosexual partner is very strong. Family and tribal honour are highly regarded in these cultures, and those who "bring shame to their families" are typically ostracised. [106] [97]

While French Polynesia tends to be more socially conservative, it has become more accepting and tolerant of LGBT people in recent years. In 2009, the first LGBT organization (called Cousins Cousines) was founded in the territory, and the first LGBT event was also held that same year. [107] Furthermore, French Polynesian society has a long tradition of raising some boys as girls to play important domestic roles in communal life (including dancing, singing and house chores). Such individuals are known as the māhū , and are perceived by society as belonging to a third gender. This is similar to the fa'afafine of Samoa and the whakawāhine of New Zealand. Historically, the māhū would hold important positions among nobles, and unlike eunuchs were not castrated. The Tahitian term rae rae, on the other hand, refers to modern-day transsexuals who undergo medical operations to change gender. Māhū and rae rae are not to be confused, as the former is a cultural and traditional recognized Polynesian identity, while the latter encompasses contemporary transgender identity. [108] [97]

In Saint Pierre and Miquelon, the gay scene is very limited, due mostly to its small population. Nonetheless, homosexuality tends to be accepted and there is very little controversy surrounding the issue. [109] [110] In Wallis and Futuna, like in other Polynesian nations, the family holds a significant societal role. Homosexuality is usually treated with indifference, unless it adversely affects the family. Wallis and Futuna, like French Polynesia, also has a traditional third gender population: the fakafafine. [111] The first same-sex marriage in Wallis and Futuna was performed in 2016. [97]

Summary table

Same-sex sexual activity legal Yes check.svg (Since 1791)
Equal age of consent Yes check.svg (Before 1942 and again in 1982)
Anti-discrimination laws in employment Yes check.svg (Since 1985)
Anti-discrimination laws in the provision of goods and services Yes check.svg (Since 1985)
Anti-discrimination laws in all other areas (incl. indirect discrimination, hate speech) Yes check.svg (Since 2004)
Anti-discrimination laws concerning gender identity Yes check.svg (Since 2012 and 2016)
Same-sex marriage Yes check.svg (Since 2013)
Recognition of same-sex couples (e.g. unregistered cohabitation, life partnership) Yes check.svg (Since 1999)
Stepchild adoption by same-sex couples Yes check.svg (Since 2013)
Joint adoption by same-sex couples Yes check.svg (Since 2013)
Automatic parenthood on birth certificates for children of same-sex couples X mark.svg (Pending)
LGBT people allowed to serve openly in the military Yes check.svg
Right to change legal gender Yes check.svg (Since 1992)
Access to IVF for lesbian couples X mark.svg (Pending)
Conversion therapy banned by law X mark.svg (Pending)
Homosexuality declassified as an illness Yes check.svg
Transsexuality declassified as an illness Yes check.svg (Since 2010)
Commercial surrogacy for gay male couples X mark.svg (Commercial surrogacy is illegal for all couples regardless of sexual orientation)
MSMs allowed to donate blood Yes check.svg / X mark.svg (Since 2016; 1 year deferral period)

See also

Notes

  1. Occitan: Còde del trabalh; Breton: Kod al labour; Corsican: Codice di u travagliu

Related Research Articles

Same-sex marriage in France has been legal since 18 May 2013. It became the thirteenth country worldwide to allow same-sex couples to marry. The legislation applies to metropolitan France as well as to the French overseas departments and territories.

LGBT rights by country or territory Wikimedia list article

Rights affecting lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people vary greatly by country or jurisdiction — encompassing everything from the legal recognition of same-sex marriage to the death penalty for homosexuality.

Switzerland has allowed registered partnerships for same-sex couples since 1 January 2007, after a 2005 referendum.

Same-sex marriage in Luxembourg has been legal since 1 January 2015. A bill for the legalisation of such marriages was enacted by the Chamber of Deputies on 18 June 2014. Partnerships have also been available in Luxembourg since 2004.

LGBT rights in Hungary

The rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) people in Hungary have evolved through Hungarian history. Homosexuality is legal in Hungary for both men and women. Discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity is banned in the country. However, households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for all of the same legal rights available to opposite-sex married couples. Registered partnership for same-sex couples was legalized in 2009, but same-sex marriage is banned.

LGBT rights in Belgium

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights in Belgium are seen as some of the most progressive in Europe and in the world. Same-sex sexual activity was legalised in 1795, with an equal age of consent, except from 1965 until 1985. After granting same-sex couples domestic partnership benefits in 2000, Belgium became the second country in the world to legalise same-sex marriage in 2003. Same-sex adoption was fully legalised in 2006 and was equalised with that of heterosexual adoption. Lesbian couples can get access to IVF as well. Discrimination protections based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, and public and private accommodations were enacted in 2003 and on gender identity and expression in 2014. Transgender people have been allowed to change their legal gender since 2007, though under certain circumstances, which were repealed in 2018.

LGBT rights in Italy

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights in Italy have changed significantly over the course of the last years, although LGBT persons may still face some legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Despite this, Italy is considered a gay-friendly country and public opinion on homosexuality is generally regarded as increasingly culturally liberal, although LGBT people in Italy still face cases of homophobia. Same-sex civil unions and unregistered cohabitation have been legally recognized since June 2016.

LGBT rights in Andorra

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Andorra may face some legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents.

LGBT rights in Luxembourg

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Luxembourg enjoy the same rights as non-LGBT people. The country is tolerant of homosexuality, and it is largely respected and accepted. Partnerships, which grant many of the benefits of marriage, are recognised. In June 2014, the Luxembourgish Parliament passed a law enabling same-sex marriage and adoption rights, which took effect on 1 January 2015. A large majority of Luxembourgers support same-sex marriage. Additionally, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and "change of sex" is outlawed.

LGBT rights in Monaco

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Monaco may face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity are legal in Monaco. However, same-sex couples and households headed by same-sex couples are not eligible for the same legal protections available to opposite-sex married couples.

LGBT rights in Portugal

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights in Portugal have improved substantially in the 2000s and 2010s and are now among the best in the world. After a long period of oppression during the Estado Novo, Portuguese society has become increasingly accepting of homosexuality, which was decriminalized in 1982, eight years after the Carnation Revolution. Portugal has wide-ranging anti-discrimination laws and is one of the few countries in the world to contain a ban on discrimination based on sexual orientation in Article 13 of its Constitution. On 5 June 2010, the state became the eighth in the world to recognize same-sex marriage. On 1 March 2011, the President ratified the Law of Gender Identity, said to be one of the most advanced in the world, which simplifies the process of sex and name change for transgender people. Same-sex adoption has been legal since 1 March 2016.

LGBT rights in Switzerland

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights in Switzerland are relatively progressive by European standards, although LGBT people lack full legal equality. Its history is one of liberalisation at an increasing pace since the 1940s, in parallel to the legal situation in Europe and the Western world more generally. Despite this, same-sex marriage, full joint adoption and IVF access remain unavailable in Switzerland as of 2019.

LGBT rights in Europe Rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Europe

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights are widely diverse in Europe per country. Sixteen out of the 26 countries that have legalised same-sex marriage worldwide are situated in Europe. A further twelve European countries have legalised civil unions or other forms of more limited recognition for same-sex couples. Armenia recognizes same-sex marriages performed in any foreign jurisdiction where they are permitted.

LGBT rights in Burundi

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) persons in Burundi face legal issues not experienced by non-LGBT citizens. Burundi criminalises same-sex sexual activity by both men and women, with a penalty up to two years in prison and a fine. LGBT persons are regularly prosecuted by the government and additionally face stigmatisation among the broader population.

LGBT rights in the Americas rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in The Americas

Laws governing lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights are complex in the Americas, and acceptance of LGBT persons varies widely. Same-sex marriages have been legal in Canada (nationwide) since 2005, in Argentina since 2010, in both Brazil (nationwide) and Uruguay since 2013, in the United States (nationwide) since 2015, in Colombia since 2016 and in Ecuador since 2019. In Costa Rica, it will become legal by 2020 at the latest. In Mexico, same-sex marriages are performed in Mexico City and in the states of Aguascalientes, Baja California, Baja California Sur, Campeche, Chiapas, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Colima, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Michoacán, Morelos, Nayarit, Nuevo León, Oaxaca, Puebla Quintana Roo and San Luis Potosí, as well as in certain municipalities in Guerrero, Querétaro and Zacatecas. Those unions are recognized nationwide.

LGBT rights in Asia Rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in Asia

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) rights in Asia are limited in comparison to many other areas of the world. Same-sex sexual activity is outlawed in at least twenty Asian countries. While at least eight countries have enacted protections for LGBT people, only Israel and Taiwan provide a wider range of LGBT rights - including same-sex relationship recognition.

LGBT rights in the Dominican Republic

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in the Dominican Republic do not enjoy the same rights as non-LGBT residents, and face legal and social challenges that are not experienced by other people. While the Dominican Criminal Code does not expressly prohibit homosexuality or cross-dressing, it also does not address discrimination or harassment on the account of sexual orientation or gender identity, nor does it recognize same sex unions in any form, whether it be marriage or partnerships. Household headed by same-sex couples are also not eligible for any of the same rights given to opposite-sex married couples, as same sex marriage is constitutionally banned in the country.

LGBT rights in Bolivia

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people in Bolivia may face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Both male and female same-sex sexual activity are legal in Bolivia. The Bolivian Constitution bans discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, making Bolivia one of the only few countries in the world to have such constitutional protections for LGBT people. In 2016, Bolivia passed the Gender Identity Law, seen as one of the most progressive laws related to transgender people in the world.

LGBT rights in Mauritius

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) persons in Mauritius face legal challenges not experienced by non-LGBT residents. Sodomy is banned by the laws of the country. Although same-sex relationships are not recognised in Mauritius, LGBT people are protected from discrimination in areas such as employment, the provision of goods and services, etc, making it one of the few African countries to have such protections for LGBT people. The Constitution of Mauritius guarantees the right of individuals to a private life.

Law 2013-404

The law opening marriage to same-sex couples, no. 2013-404 is a French law which, since 18 May 2013, grants same-sex couples the right to marry and jointly adopt children.

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Further reading