The importance of listening to people affected by trans identity

The documentary Trans, one of a kind It is broadcast this Thursday, at 9:10 p.m., on M6, while the climate is uninhibited transphobia. In August, a simple poster by Planned Parenthood in support of pregnant trans men provoked an avalanche of insulting and discriminatory comments. A minority fringe of feminists also fight to exclude trans women from their struggles. On another plane, the editor with whom Delphine Cinier has been working for eight years, the director of the documentary, has refused this time to collaborate with her. “He told me: ‘I’m not interested, I don’t want to meet them. [les personnes trans]It bothers me, I don’t want to”, she says. She couldn’t make him change his mind.

“People forget that we are human beings,” laments Aëla, a trans woman in her thirties whose journey was followed by the cameras of the sixth channel. We are almost reduced to a state of furniture or animals that we would have the right to attack as if we were creatures from a parallel world. Some still don’t have the click to say to themselves, “I have no right to hurt this person, even if I don’t understand who they are and what they’re going through.” This is where we need to provide education and answers. »

“You have to communicate, it is a human subject”

It is thus to do a pedagogical job that Aëla agreed to testify in the documentary. Ditto for Zach, a 20-year-old trans man. “Before I discovered what transidentity was, it hurt me without knowing why. It is thanks to the greater visibility given to this topic that I knew it existed. To not talk about it would be to deny reality. »

Emma, ​​​​60, third leading lady of Trans, one of a kind, echoes him: “Sometimes we have even been criticized for communicating too much because, supposedly, it tires the public. So what do we do? Are we still hiding? I believe in communication, he is a human subject. »

Delphine Cinier admits that she knew nothing about transidentity before starting the documentary. “I could make a lot of mistakes when talking about transgender people,” admits the director. It was Karine Le Marchand who, wearing her flocked Potiche Prod producer cap, offered him this project in 2019, to follow the three witnesses for several years. “I always decide to address issues that I don’t know about,” says the host of Love is in the air. I arrive with my ignorance and my received ideas. I need to get into people’s lives and understand who they really are so I don’t make caricatures of themselves. »

Karine Le Marchand and her big clogs

But as the (almost) saying goes, hell is paved with good notes of intention. On screen we find the style of Karine Le Marchand: the role of a good friend with an attentive ear and heavy clogs. She claims to have shown a working copy of the documentary to Zach, Aëla, and Emma. “After doing it, we don’t change anything, because we don’t water down the message or change the reality. That the witnesses tell me that they recognized each other is the best compliment that can be paid to me. »

As a viewer, however, one can feel a certain discomfort at a tendency to misery or at the useless reconstructions of certain scenes, including one of physical aggression, that the testimonies illustrate. The fact that the given names Emma and Aëla bore before their transition are spoken several times will no doubt challenge those who know to what extent the use of dead names represents violence for those involved.

Furthermore, Zach explicitly refused to have his given name used. “I don’t want people to imagine me with a woman’s name. We don’t want to remember the malaise we were in in the past, ”he explains facing the camera. However, he agreed to entrust him with childhood photos, “to testify one last time, before turning the page.” Emma, ​​has given her consent for her identity to be explicitly mentioned prior to her transition. “I transitioned late, I wasn’t going to waste 60 years of my life. I had the life of a man,” she says.

moral panic

But it is above all the debate starring Karine Le Marchand at 10:55 p.m., after the broadcast of the documentary, which is likely to cause a stir. Entitled Transgender child: what to do?will invite, around the table, Zach, witness of Trans, one of a kind, the psychiatrist Serge Hefez, Solange who, according to the press release, is “the mother of a transgender girl and refuses to accompany her son before he begins a psychiatric analysis of several years” and Blandine, presented as “resolutely feminist” and “opposite”. to the very notion of gender choice. We find the latter among the signatories of a forum that considers “that trans people should not be included in spaces reserved for women, nor be at the center of the feminist agenda.”

“The system put in place by M6 brings face to face (…) a young transgender man and two activists who promote transphobic discrimination (punishable by law), one being presented as a simple concerned mother, a guarantee of credibility, when you do not let let your son speak the Fransgenre association is outraged in a press release signed by many feminist and/or anti-LGBTphobia organizations and groups.

The issue of the transidentity of minors, very fashionable in recent months in the media, stems from a moral panic that mixes alarmism and misinformation, as Slate recalled last year. “I understand the caution, it’s normal, but we must not forget that the law does not allow you to do anything,” Emma stresses.

“We have always been there”

And add that the feminists who exclude trans people from their struggles, called Terf after the acronym of the English expression “trans-exclusionary radical feminist”, are “a small number, which tends to grow and make a lot of noise”. .

“They are fighting against the wind, Aëla reacts. Many think that transgender is a new and attractive concept. This is not the case. When you scratch a bit of human history, the gender spectrum is much broader, in pre-colonial civilizations, in Malaysia and North America, for example. We have always been there. We always will be. To ensure that we do not exist is to wipe out a part of humanity. I don’t know how to analyze the fear that we aroused in them. Just by being ourselves, we awaken many unconscious things in people. All the more reason to listen to trans people, directly affected by the issue, instead of those who speak for them and without knowing it.

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