• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3

Protests in France over schoolboys in skirts

Ben McPartland · 15 May 2014, 16:32

Published: 15 May 2014 16:32 GMT+02:00

There were tense scenes outside a school in the centre of Nantes, western France, on Thursday, when around 200 supporters of the right-wing group Manif Pour Tous turned up to protest against an anti-sexism stunt set to take place on Friday.

The protest was organized soon after it emerged that education authorities in Nantes were inviting boys to wear skirts to classes in 27 high schools as part of an anti-sexism day designed  to promote equality in schools.

The thought of schoolboys wearing skirts has not been welcomed by the Manif pour Tous group, which led the protests against gay marriage back in 2013.

Protesters believe the initiative is concealing the fact that gender theory – the belief that children’s gender is not fixed at birth – is going to be taught in French schools.

It’s an accusation that has regularly been thrown at the French government in recent months, prompting ministers to make angry denials.

“In the current context, asking boys to wear a skirt is provocative. They must have a screw loose,” one protester, named Chantal, told French media.

The sight of protesters outside the gates angered some school pupils.

“They do not have the right to come to our school and monopolize our idea,” one student told French daily 20 minutes. “We ask authorities who have supported us up to now, not to give in to the pressure.”

Some pupils reacted by kissing each other while one male pupil was seen climbing onto to a wall to change into a skirt.

“I will wear a skirt to school tomorrow, just to annoy those who are against it,” said a pupil, named Simon.

The “raise your skirts” day has caused a fair amount controversy since word spread around social media this week.

The event comes just months after France was embroiled in a row over the teaching of gender theory, when extremists organized a boycott of schools after spreading rumours among parents that teachers were going to give masturbation classes to young pupils.

Story continues below…

Olivier Vial, president of the conservative UNI party said: “We’ll do any old nonsense in the name of equality.

“This move is inspired by the Day of the Skirt, whose original aim was to allow women to express their femininity in environments where it was often difficult. But this is just denying feminine and masculine identity,” Vial said.

Frigid Barjot, the former leader of the anti-gay marriage Manif Pour Tous movement asked the country’s education minister via Twitter: “And the girls, will they be wearing beards as well?” in a nod to bearded Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst.

Another anti-gay marriage militant Tugdual Derville tweeted: “It’s not April Fool’s Day. It’s not a wind up. In our schools, with our expensive taxesconfusion of genders.”

Ben McPartland (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
View from the rue
What do Parisians think of France's burqini bans?
Photo: AFP

With 64 percent of the French against burqinis at the beach, what do the Parisians think?

Almost half of France now on heatwave alert
Children cool off in Nice's fountains. Photo: AFP

Orange alerts - the second highest level - were issued to 43 départements as France's heatwave shows no signs of stopping.

France's top ten beaches to survive the heatwave
Photo: Gomezdegomera/Flickr

Temperatures are soaring... why not head to the beach?

Parisians invited to swim in the Bassin de la Villette
People taking part in activities in the Bassin de la Villette. Photo: AFP

If you fancy a rare chance to swim along the Paris canal system, here comes your chance.

French wine output drops 10 percent after stormy weather
A vineyard in Valfaunes partially destroyed after a violent hailstorm near the southern city of Montpellier. Photo: AFP

Bad weather has pushed wine production in France down ten percent this year.

Migrants armed with sticks hold up truck driver in Calais
Migrants standing near the Calais motorway. File photo: AFP

The driver involved says he deals with similar incidents "every night".

Majority in France against burqinis on beaches
The burqini ban in 30 French towns has provoked debate worldwide. Photo: AFP

Almost two thirds of French people said they're against the controversial swimwear.

Five tips for surviving an internship in France
Photo: Thomas Heylen/Flickr

A few things you need to know about interning in France.

Police arrest Lyon man who 'talked of attack plans'
French soldiers patrolling the Part-Dieu train station last year. Photo: AFP

The man had talked about plans to attack a busy district in central Lyon.

France's burqini ban goes before country's top court
A woman models the burqini swimsuit. Photo: AFP

France's highest administrative court will on Thursday examine a request to scrap a ban on the Islamic burqini swimsuit.

Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
Eight tips on buying wine in a French supermarket
Sponsored Article
5 reasons to try dating in Paris with The Inner Circle
Society
Here's how to enjoy Paris (while avoiding the heat)
Society
Ten mistakes to avoid when dating a Frenchman
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Society
Twelve 'French' things that aren't actually French at all
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
'World's priciest home' on sale in French Riviera for €1 billion
Lifestyle
RECIPE: How to make the tastiest ratatouille
National
Paris sees Europe's biggest plunge in 'liveability'
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
Life on the home front in rural France's 'war on terror'
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Features
Weird facts you didn't know about the French language
Society
Paris foodie event cancelled over lack of security
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
How to tackle six of the trickiest French verbs
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
National
Summer in France - 'the ideal time to find a job'
National
'Burqini bans will only divide France more'
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
National
French vineyards revive horse-drawn ploughs
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
French mayor bans Pokemon Go app from his village
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
National
'To boycott France is to surrender to terrorists'
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Travel
21 photos to make you want to come to France right now
Society
This is how much the French are obsessed with cheese
National
French MP's call for Facebook ID cards blasted 'as idiotic'
Travel
Summer checklist: Fourteen great travel ideas for France
Travel
Here's why France is still world's top tourist destination
'Wealthy American tourists' snub France over terror fears
National
Where to go swimming in France (and where to avoid)
2,751
jobs available