At the end of January 2023, France’s Inter-Ministerial Delegation for Combating Racism, Anti-Semitism and Anti-LGBT+ Hatred, which reports to the Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne, published a guide on “Respecting the rights of LGBT+ families and future families,” presented as a “practical guide to help LGBT+ parents and prospective parents know their rights, ensure they are respected and to assert them.” It is surprising to see a government institution publish guidance specifically for LGBT+ “families” because these are not the only ones affected by adoption, discrimination, maternity leave, paternity leave, etc.
Since it is continually claimed that these are “families like any other,” then why dedicate a guide specifically to them? Why hasn’t the government published a guide for respecting the rights of families in general, or for heterosexual families for example? What justifies this difference in treatment? A guide that encourages practices contrary to the law? Surrogacy is widely referenced in this guide–as early as page 8 this term is included in the key definitions, without immediately stating that surrogacy is prohibited in France. (The only indication of the ban is on page 32, after the presentation of the means to establish filiation in France with a child born by GPA abroad.)
The commodification of the surrogacy contract and the child is completely ignored, as is the conviction of the European Parliament of this practice: “The European Parliament condemns the practice of surrogacy, which can expose women around the world to exploitation, particularly those who are poorer and in vulnerable situations, such as in the context of war.” The advice given on how to have the filiation of a child born by GPA recognized, on page 31, again illustrates the double standards repeatedly denounced against the Macron government regarding the use of this practice abroad. Similarly, with regard to PMA and the use of third-party gametes, the guide specifies “prohibited methods” (p. 11) such as self-insemination and the use of a private gamete bank, but at the same time it also indicates how to regularize the recognition of filiation obtained by these prohibited methods. On the one hand it reminds of illegality, and on the other it gives advice on how to clear up the legal situation when the crime has already been committed. To sum up, the Macron government warns citizens about crimes and misdemeanors under the law and, at the same time, the very same government simultaneously suggests procedures for citizens who have committed crimes to regularize their situation and avoid fines and prison.
Another puzzling example of the Macron government’s suggestions is its treatment of the so-called transgender issue. It is stated that the term “mother” refers to persons registered as “woman,” thus not only those who were born female. The guide thus encourages the jurisprudence of the Toulouse Court of Appeals, which on 9 February 2022 made an adult’s “feeling” prevail over biological reality and the child’s interest in being issued a birth certificate corresponding to this reality. The appeals court had allowed a biological man who had conceived his child naturally during a sexual relationship with his wife, but whose marital status was changed to the opposite sex, to be listed as the mother on the child’s birth certificate. At the same time, the guide argues that people registered as men, but women by birth, should be able to benefit from the rights of mothers, even as it fights for them to be declared “fathers” on their child’s birth certificate. As we can see, only the temporary and instinctive interests and cravings of adults matter. The child is always called upon to adapt to the feelings or contradictions put in place by adults to satisfy a child-object’s desire. Thus, once again, the French government and President Macron, show that they are increasingly interested in dominant ideologies rather than in reality and the good of families, children and parents.