Protect Trans Rights, Yes, But Not in Defiance of Reality

Jean Thibaudeau
for the Board of Directors of Atheists Freethinkers

Publication Date: 2023-10-06

    1. We consider that, in the current debate, only the concept of biological sex constitutes a concrete and objective criterion, validated by a very high level of scientific consensus. Sex is in no way attributed or assigned, but rather observed objectively at birth. It is defined as the overall organization of the body which gives it (or not) the potential to carry a pregnancy. It includes various elements such as the presence of certain chromosomes, the production of sperm or ovum, the shape of the external genitalia, the nature of hormones, the presence or absence of developed breasts, the presence or absence of a uterus and the phenomenon of menstruation, etc. Whether there is an anomaly or dysfunction in one or more of these elements in an individual does not change anything about his or her biological sex.
    2. As a corollary, and logically, it is strictly impossible to change biological sex, regardless of any medical manipulation practised on the body: hormones, surgeries, etc. These can only change appearances.
    3. Any other element of “masculinity” or “femininity” associated with biological sexes falls into the category of gender, i.e. the mental representations that all human individuals (not only trans people!) have on this subject, more or less arbitrarily, based on their emotions, their life experiences or the standards that are socially conveyed (particularly by advertising and religions) and which are, unfortunately, sometimes imposed by force in too many instances.
  1. We are deeply committed to freedom of thought and conscience which constitutes the fundamental basis of our Charters of Rights. Everyone deserves the freedom to have their own ideas, fantasies, dreams, preferences, tastes, ideologies, beliefs… in short, anything that happens strictly between their two ears. No exception to this rule seems acceptable to us whatever the circumstances.
  2. This freedom, however, cannot be applied as such as soon as concrete actions result from it. Rather, we consider that any human society that aspires to live in a certain harmony must base its rules on objective reality, which is generally defined by the scientific community when it is the subject of broad consensus within it, and not on the side by side accumulation of the fantasies of each individual or each group. We also consider that every citizen should, for his/her part, in his/her communications with other citizens, commit as much as possible to respecting what are called the facts (especially when such facts are displeasing!).


We recognize that trans, queer, non-binary and other gender identities have the right to perceive Reality as they wish, but cannot legitimately demand that society as a whole share their entire vision, particularly when that vision strays dangerously far from the facts described in point 1. There is no justification for automatically accusing anyone of any “phobia” in this case.

We consider, moreover, that such persons are perfectly justified in “living their identity” as they understand it, especially since the criteria which could be opposed to their particularities are also based solely on subjectivity. This includes their external appearance as well as their way of expressing themselves, as well as their conformity (or not) to the expectations of those around them (except when these apply to everyone indiscriminately, regardless of biological sex or gender).

We unreservedly condemn any form of discrimination, pressure, intimidation or violence directed towards them. Here too, no exception seems acceptable to us whatever the circumstances.

From the preceding principles, there follow a large number of consequences for the rules which should be applied relating to an almost infinite multitude of issues: legal age of consent and the role of parents, toilet arrangements, changing rooms, prisons, school curricula at different ages, standards regarding the attitudes to be adopted by educational staff with respect to children, content of official civil status documents, and so on. These issues are too numerous for us to take firm positions now on all of them, especially since they often involve very complex questions and in some cases expert opinions must first be sought.

But we demand that the government commit to opening public debate widely on all these questions. The eventual report of the committee of experts set up by the government will have to be the subject of a parliamentary commission or another similar mechanism, open to all, before being applied. The recent experience of multi-party committees of deputies could also serve as a model.

Finally, one point is clear for us: none of the decisions taken previously on any these issues should be treated as acquired knowledge to be excluded from future debate. Furthermore, the association Atheist Freethinkers rejects vigorously and categorically any attempt to associate the above statements with any “anti-trans” or far-right ideology.

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