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Macron draws fire on trans rights comments

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Facing an uphill electoral battle, French President Emmanuel Macron is looking for new arguments to dent his opponents — even at the risk of souring some of his own supporters.

On Tuesday, Macron accused the New Popular `Front, a left-wing alliance built for the upcoming legislative elections, of promoting “completely crazy things, like going to the town hall to change your sex.”

The New Popular Front’s manifesto includes a proposal to “authorize a [cost] free change of civil status before a registrar,” which the president characterized as being among the “gruesome things” in the program of the “extreme left.”

Under the current system, requests to change the gender indicated in legal documents must be made before a judge. While there is no obligation of having received gender affirming surgery, one must “prove that the sex indicated on your civil status does not correspond to that of your social life (gender identity),” the French administration’s website says. Other EU countries including Spain and Belgium have moved to allow gender self-determination.

While the left-wing alliance has been prone to infighting over its first six days of its existence, its leaders were unanimous in condemning Macron’s statements.

“When I see [Macron] adding up fake news and being transphobic, I think the president is embracing the most populist statements which he called out for years,” Olivier Faure, the Socialist Party’s first secretary, said.

Jean-Luc Mélenchon of the hard-left France Unbowed movement called Macron’s comments “shameful” and accused the president of being “unaware of the suffering involved for those concerned.”

Macron’s comments have also pushed some people within his own camp to speak up. “For trans people, for LGBT people, for everyone … we must reject stigma in political discourse and promote equal rights,” former Europe Minister Clément Beaune wrote on X.

Progressistes LGBT+, an organization founded by a “collective of LGBT+ activists supporting Emmanuel Macron” and affiliated to the president’s party said it “deeply regrets [Macron’s] comments aimed at stigmatizing transgender people.”

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