A trans teenager has tragically died by suicide after she was allegedly “humiliated” by school staff for wearing a skirt.
The 17-year-old student, identified only by the first name Fouad, died by suicide on Tuesday (15 December) in a shelter she had been residing in, according to Associated Press.
Her classmates at Fenelon High School in Lille said Fouad had recently come out as transgender and later chose to wear a skirt to school – which led to her being summoned to a meeting by a school official.
In a video recorded by Fouad and shared with friends, the school official can be heard angrily telling her that her decision to wear a skirt was upsetting other students.
The school faced strident backlash from students when it misgendered Fouad in a statement about her death.
Students at the school also claimed that some teachers had refused to use Fouad’s correct pronouns, despite the fact that she had communicated clearly that she was a girl.
Friends of Fouad staged a protest after she died by suicide.
Around 100 Fenelon High School students staged a sit-in protest on Friday (18 December) outside the institution and observed a moment of silence in memory of Fouad.
A student identified only as Annabelle told the Associated Press that Fouad had already been suffering as a result of “a deep pain that dates to a long time ago”. The student said Fouad’s distress was compounded by the school’s refusal to respect her gender identity.
“We are here to send a message of tolerance. And to tell Fouad we are here for her,” Annabelle said.
Fouad’s death has shocked the country, with the hashtag “Justice Pour Fouad” shared widely on social media.
Martine Aubry, mayor of Lille, mourned her death on Twitter, writing: “I learn with great emotion and deep sadness the death of a transgender high school student in Lille. All my thoughts are with her loved ones and her comrades.”
Elisabeth Moreno, the French minister for diversity, wrote on Twitter that suicide rates among trans people are seven times higher than the rate among cisgender people.
“We must absolutely fight transphobia, everywhere,” she added.
The country’s education minister, Jean-Michel Blanquer tweeted: “Fouad’s death challenges our society about everything we must do to ensure that everyone’s rights are respected.”
There has been an outpouring of grief and sadness from LGBT+ people across the world in the wake of Fouad’s death.
tw // suicide
she was a young girl. she deserved love and happiness. instead she was belittled and berated to suicide. no child deserves to feel hated or unloved, especially not one trying so hard to be who she has always wanted to be. #JusticePourFouad
— irenedeer 🦌 ❼ (@irenefwood) December 18, 2020
she did nothing to deserve the way she was treated. no one deserves that. i hope you all know you’re valid and i love you. please know my account is a safe space for all of you , whether we’re close or not. #JusticePourFouad
— theodora ➐ (@imtheodorablack) December 18, 2020
what happened was truly disgusting; say her name, she deserves justice- transphobia is so disgusting, people need to open their eyes #JusticePourFouad
— cassie is leaving ❼ (@cassidyandrea_) December 18, 2020
#JusticePourFouad a young french trans woman who took her own life bc she had been humiliated at her own school by the administration for wearing a skirt. its disgusting. im sending my prayers to her family
— 𝓼𝓬𝓸𝓻𝓹𝓲𝓸 𝓮𝓷𝓮𝓻𝓰𝔂 (@jadiorbelIa) December 18, 2020
Heartbreaking to read Fouad's story. Kicked out by her parents, discriminated against by her school, made to face routine humiliation. It's heartening that her fellow students were supportive, but so devastating that, even then, it wasn't enough.#JusticePourFouad
— Charlotte 🌿🖤🤎 (@EidolaObscura) December 17, 2020
Readers affected by the issues raised in this story are encouraged to contact Samaritans free on 116 123 (www.samaritans.org) or Mind on 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk). Readers in the US are encouraged to contact the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255.