By Jonathon Van Maren
Dora Moutot is a famous (and best-selling) French author, feminist, and social media influencer – and she is yet another prominent European being taken to court for the alleged crime of “misgendering.”
Two LGBT associations, Mousse and SOS Homophobie are backing a complaint lodged against Moutot on February 15 on behalf of the mayor of Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes, a trans-identified male named Marie Cau, and Hanneli Escurier, a female journalist who identifies as a man. One incident cited in the suit involves comments Moutot made last October during an episode of the popular talk show Quelle Époque!
Journalist Léa Salamé asked Moutot whether she regarded the mayor as a woman, to which Moutot replied, ‘To me, Marie Cau is a man.’ A statement released by Mousse accused Moutot of ‘violently attacking’ Cau by calling him both a man, and a ‘transfeminine man.’
Cau, whose given name is Nicolas, became well known in France after he was elected to political office in 2020 and was celebrated in media reports as the first transgender mayor in the nation. After he won the election in the small town of Tilloy-lez-Marchiennes, which has a population of approximately 500, Cau expressed an ambition to run for president.
Moutot is not the first to face such charges. Vassilis Tsiartas, widely considered to be one of the greatest Greek soccer stars of all time, was convicted last fall of “transphobic” social media posts and given a 10-month suspended prison sentence and a 5,000 euro fine due to his “public incitement” of “violence or hatred for reasons of gender identity.”
In Norway, filmmaker and actress Tonje Gjevjon is under criminal investigation for “misgendering” a trans activist, with another Norwegian woman – Christina Ellingsen – also being investigated after accusations by the same trans activist. Those found guilty of even private remarks under these laws could be fined or jail for a year; three years is the sentence for public comments.
In the United Kingdom, Greece, Norway, and now France, all it takes is accusations by trans activists to trigger criminal proceedings. Moutot has been accused of both “misgendering” and “transphobia,” the latter for an August 25, 2022, post in which she referred to Hanneli Escurier as a “trans-identified woman.” The legal complaint alleges insults on the basis of gender identity as well as public incitement to hatred or violence, charges similar to those Tsiartas faced.
According to Moutot, however, Escuerier herself had referred to her ideological opponents as “TERFs” and “threatened to physically harm Moutot herself at a drag event in 2020 that was held at a club in Paris.” Ironically, it was in an Instagram post referring to Ecurier’s threats that she called her a “trans-identified female,” triggering the complaint.