France Has Banned The Words 'Mother' And 'Father' On Official School Forms
The seemingly innocent words have been banned on school documents nationwide and replaced with "parent 1" and "parent 2".
The change of law is designed to avoid discrimination against same-sex parents and passed parliament as part of the wider Schools of Trust law, which will also make it mandatory for three-year-olds to go to school.
“This amendment aims to root in law children’s family diversity in administrative forms submitted in school,” said Valérie Petit, MP for the majority REM party of President Emmanuel Macron.
“We have families who find themselves faced with tick boxes stuck in rather old-fashioned social and family models. For us, this article is a measurement of social equality,” she continued.
Socialist MP Joaquim Pueyot praised the change as "a question of respect and dignity," while the amendment has also been welcomed by France's biggest parents federation.
“It echos the (recent) law on fighting harassment because often situations of child harassment target kids who don’t fit the current criteria,” FCPE said in a statement.
But despite the widespread support, some conservative MP's have labelled the change "frightening" and disrespectful to "heterosexual couples".
“When I hear people say this is an old-fashioned model, I would remind people that today among unions celebrated, civil or marital, some 95 percent are man-woman couples,” MP Xavier Breton said.
The French association for same-sex parents, AFDH, welcomed the move to have all parents “included in forms” but warned it could create a “parental hierarchy”, and had pushed for the boxes to say "father, mother and legal representative," instead.
The idea of replacing the words mother and father isn't new, it was first floated by French officials in 2013 before gay marriage was legalised.
In Australia, the NSW teachers' union released new guidelines in 2016, suggesting teachers avoid the use of the terms "mum", "dad", "boy" and "girl" when addressing students and their families.
Qantas also flagged plans to avoid gender-specific terms like "mum and dad", "husband and wife", and "guys", in 2018, to ensure everybody felt comfortable and welcome on board.