Activist collectives, left-wing elected officials, trade unionists, young people: several thousand people demonstrated on Sunday in France where around fifty rallies were planned to denounce the ongoing “transphobic offensive” against the rights of trans people.

In Paris, several thousand people gathered at Place de la République early in the afternoon, according to the organizers. The Ministry of the Interior totaled 10,880 demonstrators in France, including 2,500 in Paris.

“Anti-patriarchy, anti-capitalist, solidarity with trans people everywhere! “, chanted participants, while signs demanded “Health resources for transitions”.

Other gatherings took place over the weekend in forty-nine cities in France, notably in Lyon, Marseille or Montpellier, but also in Belgium, Brussels and Liège, according to the organizers.

In Montpellier, the gathering brought together between 550 people, according to the organizers, and 400, according to the prefecture. Sit-ins, “Trans and feminist response” banner and speeches punctuated the demonstration. During the event, two people nearby threw small stones at some participants, noted an Agence France-Presse (AFP) correspondent.

“That’s our daily life,” say Elsa and Anaïs, two organizers, who prefer not to reveal their last name, for fear of reprisals. “Today, there is an urgent need to defend the rights of all, in a context where right-wing and far-right elected officials are attacking the rights of trans people and disclosing false information about children in a transidentity situation,” insist -they.

The call for mobilization was launched by more than 800 groups and personalities (Annie Ernaux, Vanessa Springora, Act Up Paris, Family Planning, etc.) in a column published Tuesday by Politis. France Insoumise and the Socialist Party had also called for people to join the rallies.

To date, 1,900 people have signed this appeal to “urgently respond to the atrocious climate” which weighs on trans people in France and other countries, said during a press conference organized ahead of the rally. Parisian Sasha Yaropolskaya, activist of the collective Du pain et des roses.

In their crosshairs and that of the demonstrators, a report on the transidentification of minors drawn up by the group Les Républicains au Senate. Associations see in this text, which led to a bill which will be examined on May 28 in a public session, a return to conversion therapy, which its authors deny.

Senate report deemed transphobic

The associations also denounce the publication and promotion of the book Transmania, which presents itself as an “investigation into the abuses of transgender identity”, and a proposed law from National Rally MP Joëlle Mélin aimed at “protecting minors against certain medical and surgical practices” regarding gender transition. A “reactionary context”, deplores Laura Menge, lawyer and LGBT activist.

“The messages of the two authors [of the book Transmania] are dangerous, we find the rhetoric that we had in the 1980s against homosexuals and which is coming back today in force against transgender people,” denounces Maxime Haes, spokesperson from Stop Homophobia.

The operator JCDecaux removed the posters promoting the book from the streets of the capital, after being questioned by Paris City Hall, which deemed them contrary to its ethics charter and apologized.

A conference in the presence of the two authors, who defend themselves against any transphobia and denounce “censorship”, is planned for Monday evening at Panthéon-Assas University at the initiative of the La Cocarde student union.

Despite calls to ban the event, the university president told AFP he had made the decision to maintain it “in the name of freedom of expression”. “Universities are above all places for debate and confrontation of ideas, including when ideas are debatable, or even frankly contestable,” declared Stéphane Braconnier.

“The conference will be filmed: if transphobic, discriminatory or homophobic comments were to be made, I will not hesitate for a single second to refer the matter to the public prosecutor or to initiate disciplinary proceedings,” he added.