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Transgender pupil's suicide unites France school

Transgender pupil's suicide unites France school Students and educational staff gather in the schoolyard of Lycee Fenelon in Lille on December 18, 2020 to pay tribute to a transgender student two days after she committed suicide. (AFP/Denis Charlet)
Renaud Lavergne/Elia Vaissiere (Agence France-Presse)
Lille, France   ●   Mon, December 21, 2020 2020-12-21 12:06 147 d66dcbf21949a93b498053ceec6aa291 2 News transgender,LGBTQ,France,student,gender,Education,suicide Free

A school in northern France on Friday paid tribute to a 17-year-old transgender pupil who killed herself earlier in the week, with pupils calling for greater tolerance from officials.

The pupil at the school in the city of Lille, identified only as Fouad, took her own life on Wednesday.

Fouad had initially been turned away from the Fenelon school in early December for wearing a skirt, but was later allowed to attend.

The local education authorities have said they were aware of Fouad's desire to transition and were accompanying her in the process. 

There was no immediate explanation for her suicide.

"We're here firstly to honor her memory, to pay tribute to her and to make sure that it doesn't happen again and pupils are listened to," said one of Fouad's friends, Zya.

"The school should have been more tactful, more understanding towards her," she told AFP, though she did not blame the school over Fouad's death.

Read also: UK court hears divisive case over trans kids' right to puberty-blocking drugs

Headteacher Paul Marcheville told the pupils at the memorial: "Fouad was fully recognized within the school. She had her place." 

Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said earlier that the government had made  strides in the fighting harassment against LGBT groups.

"But we need to succeed even better in fighting against this," he said.

Anouk Dupont, another friend of Fouad, said there needed to be a wholesale change within society.

"There is a problem within this society which is not the most tolerant, which is quite conformist."

Lille Socialist mayor Martine Aubry said on Twitter that the pupil's death had caused her "deep sadness and great emotion".