Homosexuality: in school “the difficulty is often the group effect” – 40 years since the decriminalization of homosexuality



“The school has a role to play in the fight against prejudice and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people,” Emmanuel Macron finally estimated in an interview with Têtu magazine on April 20, 2022.

Loïc, 51, a secondary school teacher in the suburbs of Paris, can only agree with this view. He describes high school as “the matrix of what happens in society. One has the impression that there is some form of progressive acceptance of homosexuality, but once a topic raises the question, one gets confused by so much conservatism, resistance.”

“These issues don’t run in families”

From his outpost as a teacher, he says he noted “how the school setting was full of goodwill, but very insufficient. Because it is structured, it leaves a lot of room for the personal goodwill of the teachers – which is very good in some ways – but in the high school classes that I was able to supervise for 17 years, interventions on homophobia were rare “. The teacher had several assignments in establishments in the suburbs of Paris. “These problems are not treated in families. It is completely taboo. I think the school, through all its missions, could provide food for thought to all students, in equal measure. It’s done, but in general crumbling, too much – wanting to integrate too many societal fields”.

Loïc, teacher in the suburbs of Paris: “These questions do not arise in families. It’s completely taboo. I think that through all its missions, the school could provide food for thought to all students, on an equal footing.” (The Telegram / Thierry Charpentier)

“In a group, the insult that comes out is homophobic”

In fact, he rubs shoulders with students “who, individually, are quite often charming. The difficulty is the group effect and there things can get out of hand very quickly. I saw fights, spitting in the hallways of the school. And often, when there’s a group, the insult that comes out is instantly homophobic. According to him, “there is a huge inconvenience to approach the problem in a simple and relaxed way”. But to listen to it, it should be real, because the cases of illness, of desocialization among students, are not uncommon. “From my personal sensitivity, I could clearly see the reasons for the malaise! It even happened to me to talk to students about it in veiled words.”

“I was very bitter about this episode”

Loïc is all the more passionate about this subject because he is gay. The revelation fell on him, at the age of 25. “I didn’t experience any friendly or social problems because of this question, but we didn’t talk about it at all in the family.” When he later introduced his companion to his parents, ‘they had the extreme delicacy of really showing nothing. And they get along very well with him.

What about the professional environment? “At university, where I taught for ten years, I had to confide in a teacher. In high school I thought it would be easier. I had a kind of coming out that almost ended in disaster. I stayed at this establishment but it put me off. Never again have I discussed the matter in the teachers’ lounge. I was very bitter about this episode”.

“The word homosexuality is poorly chosen”

He rediscovered this bitterness during the demo for all. “It was an excruciating moment, where we saw people fighting so that others didn’t have as many rights as they did. It was very shocking.” He says he was lucky “to be defended by Christiane Taubira, who has developed treasures of finesse and rectitude despite stupidity”.

According to Loïc, the misunderstanding is actually in the term homosexuality, “because we think of sex. Marguerite Yourcenar said that the word was badly chosen, that we prefer to speak of homosexuality, because homosexuality refers to sexual desire. The imagination sometimes does more damage than the grip of reality Some imagine lustful monstrosities, attach this sexual orientation to the world of the night, of excess, of hypervisibility… Many would be surprised to see that the majority of gay men lead a clean, quiet life and far from being a threat to society.

Homosexuality: a world day and 40 years of progress

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