« As gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transsexuals, and transgender persons — because we are gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transsexuals, and transgender persons — we cannot condone the statements by Manuel Valls, nor can we be silent and ignore the support lent to him by François Hollande. »
Our sexualities and our gender identities have long made us pariahs. The suffering of the Roma, and that of gays, of lesbians, of transsexuals, and of transgender people, are irreducible to one another. Yet we too have been mocked, stigmatized, and people have pointed their fingers at us. Like Roma, we have been summoned to justify the color of our clothes and the length of our hair, to explain who we are, where we are, what we do and with whom.
The statements by Manuel Valls, the Minister of the Interior, have resounded like a thunderclap: they tear the Left apart in an irreparable manner. While they can be read as part of the slow and inexorable ideological drift of the Socialist Party and of European social-democratic parties, they also mark a breaking point. Many have noticed that by pointing out populations who, by virtue of their ethnicity, “should stay” in, or “return to,” another country, Valls does not simply make veiled appeals to the Far-Right: he draws shamelessly on its vocabulary and ideology. His words turn the Left into an appendage of the UMP (the latter having long been an appendage of the National Front). They circumscribe entire populations, and therefore individuals, to a given territory from which they should never exit. Such declarations as “these populations’ ways of life are widely different from ours and they are in confrontation” or “the proximity of those camps causes mendacity, thefts, and crimes” are blows in the face of intelligence. By reducing individuals to their ethnicity, by essentializing their identity, and by denouncing their social behaviors without ever mentioning the material conditions that shape them, these statements correspond, in general and in detail, to what can only be called racism.
And lest some call us idealists, let us be clear: we are not. What is this all about? 20,000 individuals living on French soil in conformity with the regulations on free circulation within the European Union. We do not deny that this situation may occasionally cause problems. But we categorically deny that this is a “confrontation” of cultures. Roma problems are well-known and in no way original: they are the right to work, the right to housing, precariousness, stigmatization, shame, and poverty. We are not idealist. It is, rather, this government, its Minister of Interior, its Prime-Minister, and he who named them, whoare racist.
Many of us gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transsexuals, and transgender people, could be tempted, when assessing the merits of this government, to limit ourselves to the law on marriage and adoption for all. The adoption of those reforms has been a major step; it rewarded many so-called LGBT activists for the hard work they had been doing for many years, and for a long time against the Socialist Party itself.
But all the rest cannot be eliminated with a simple stroke of the pen that signed this important reform into law.
Without dwelling on the pitiful manner in which those reforms have been prepared, led, and supported by the government; without mentioning how the government thus gave the Right an opportunity to throw itself into the arms of the far right; without being able to forget how several Ministers, including the Prime-minister, have persistently lost time, backpedaled, and betrayed their promises regarding ART; without even noting their reluctance to address the concrete problems encountered by trans people; and even if we remember how the Minister of Justice, Christiane Taubira, did us proud throughout those debates; we cannot forget that Manuel Valls’s statements feel like spit cast upon our face, which taint with their shabby tone everything else this government has done.
In good conscience, we cannot abrogate our responsibilities. Our life experiences give us an intimate knowledge of stigmatization, hatred, stupidity, ignorance, stereotypes and prejudices. As gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transsexuals, and transgender persons — because we are gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transsexuals, and transgender persons — we cannot condone the statements by Manuel Valls, nor can we be silent and ignore the support lent to him by François Hollande. We may have sometimes deluded ourselves and thought that a vote for the Socialist Party was, “in any case,” a lesser evil. Let it be known that from now on we withdraw our support.
Chantal Akerman ;
Alix Béranger, militante féministe ; François Berdougo, militant sida ; Fred Bladou, volontaire chez AIDES, équipe de liaison activiste de l'international AIDS Society ;
David Caron, professeur d’études LGBT, University of Michigan; Natacha Chetcuti, Sociologue, Post-doctorante, GTM-CRESSPA, CNRS, Paris 8 ; Patrick Comoy, militant Ouiouioui, Front de gauche LGBT ;
Wendy Delorme, écrivaine ; David Dibilio, programmateur et journaliste ; Christine Delphy ; Matthieu Dupas, doctorant, University of Michigan ;
Karine Espineira, Docteure qualifiée en Sciences de l'information et de la communication ;
Gwen Fauchois, activiste ; Hugues Fischer, militant gay et sida ;
Philippe Joanny, la Revue Monstre ;
Jean-Charles Lallemand, responsable national LGBT du Parti de Gauche ; Elisabeth Lebovici ; Gildas Le Dem, traducteur et journaliste ;
Tim Madesclaire, la Revue Monstre ; Philippe Mangeot ; Christophe Martet ; Rostom Mesli, doctorant, University of Michigan ; Morgane Merteuil, Secrétaire générale du Syndicat du travail sexuel ;
Thierry Nazzi, directeur de recherche au cnrs ;
Jérémy Patinier, directeur de publication des Editions "Des ailes sur un tracteur" ;
Sébastien Roux, sociologue, chercheur au cnrs ;
Judith Silberfeld, cofondatrice et rédactrice en chef de Yagg ;
Louis-Georges Tin, fondateur de la Journée mondiale contre l'homophobie et la transphobie ; Mathieu Trachman, sociologue, Ined.