The French word “Pareil” (born) has been replaced by an alternative that uses an “informal second-person” pronoun: “Pareil de labrecè” (something of you).
The new version of the French word “Pareil” (born) has been replaced by an alternative that uses an “informal second-person” pronoun: “Pareil de labrecè” (something of you).
The move is sparking outrage in France, where modern day gender identity remains a controversial subject.
Many believe the “adoption” of a new pronoun, instead of “theater” and “l’école des troupes d’art” (school of art) that stand for French “People’s Children,” will become the most politically correct word ever used in France.
Mejïa Bonné, a 24-year-old student in Roanne, says that despite the controversy, she will continue to use “Pareil de labrecè” to refer to herself. “Pareil,” she explained, “means slang in English, so since I’m not in a traditional role, I don’t understand why it has to be a feminine expression,” she told France’s Le Figaro newspaper.
The new French version of the word is word is now used to describe anyone in either gender who doesn’t fit within one of the two pre-defined male or female roles, according to Le Monde.
Gender equality activists have long-traditionally used “Pareil” to refer to men or women who don’t conform to the social norms of both genders.
According to the Associated Press, some political and cultural figures in France celebrated the “adoption” of “Pareil de labrecè.” Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy wrote on Twitter that the change “obliges” everyone to “embrace each other on a human level.”
Others expressed anger that “Pareil” had been dropped from official usage. Le Journal du Dimanche ran an article with the headline “Pareil, you’re not even.” A caricature on the left-leaning France Info radio station also depicts a blowup doll’s head wearing a “I’m not a woman, I’m a Labrecè” T-shirt.
The Paris public library is also getting in on the fun, giving the “non-binary” pronouns a “code name.”
“Nouvelles jeunes de France ficurent font que l’adjournment du Pareil est oublier,” it said in a tweet.
“Women of France (humourous) | https://t.co/mz49jsOgms pic.twitter.com/SlRXtwNLSn — Jeune Public (@JeunePublic) February 2, 2016
A spokesman for the French government’s gender equality department told the Associated Press that the government has not endorsed “Pareil de labrecè.”
Despite the outrage, France has implemented a number of new policies to increase gender equality since president Emmanuel Macron took office in May.
The government has boosted funding for a national training academy for future female candidates and has sent lawmakers to LGBT festivals to encourage tolerance.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.