The books are aimed at students in the ‘première’ class, who are usually around 16 years old, and form part of teaching in the biology curriculum.
In their letter to Luc Chatel, the education minister, the MPs complain about references in the books to gender theory.
“According to this theory,” they write, “people are not defined as men or women but as practitioners of certain forms of sexuality: homosexuals, heterosexuals, bisexuals and transsexuals.”
They believe this is a “philosophical and sociological theory that is not scientific” and call on the minister to “withdraw from schools text books that put forward this theory.”
They cite a passage in one of the text books, published by Hachette, which says “sexual identity is created throughout our lives, through the constant interaction between biology and our socio-cultural context.”
Another book says that “everyone learns to be a man or a woman according to their environment and upbringing…it’s possible to be a man and be attracted to women and also to be a 100 percent virile man who is attracted to men.”
Bernard Accoyer, the president of the French parliament’s lower house, the National Assembly, told radio station Europe 1 science books should “stick to scientific truths…rather than drift onto questions of society.”
The Socialist party’s spokesman on education, Bruno Julliard, condemned the MPs concerned and called on the education minister to resist the calls to withdraw the books.
“The education minister mustn’t give in to this pressure,” he told L’Express magazine. “On an important issue like this, it’s a shame that a little political controversy steals the limelight. We should remember that the suicide rate amongst young homosexuals is seven times as high as for the rest of the population.”