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18 Feb, 2022 16:41

French first lady sues over transgender claims

Brigitte Macron is dragging two women to court for publishing scandalous claims about her online
French first lady sues over transgender claims

Brigitte Macron, wife of French President Emmanuel Macron, has sued two women who spread rumors that she underwent a sex change, according to an AFP report on Friday. The case comes as her husband gears up for a tough reelection campaign.

A first hearing in the case has been set for June 15 in Paris, a legal source told AFP.  Macron's three children from her previous marriage as well as her brother have also signed on to the suit, the news agency added.

The rumors in question were started early last year by an independent journalist and a self-proclaimed spiritual ‘medium’. A series of posts on Facebook and a video interview between the two women posted to YouTube gained traction, and by December the hashtag #JeanMichelTrogneux was getting national attention. The hashtag is a reference to what the conspiracy theorists believe to be Brigitte Macron’s real maiden name – Jean Michel Trogneux.

According to her biography, Mrs. Macron was born Brigitte Marie-Claude Trogneux.

The journalist in question purportedly told the ‘medium’ that evidence of the first lady’s gender transition is in “a sealed envelope deposited with a lawyer whose name is well known,” and would be made public if France made Covid-19 vaccination compulsory. 

Emmanuel Macron has faced questions about his relationship with his wife – who is 24 years his senior and taught at the French president’s high school – before, but the rumors referenced in the lawsuit bear a striking similarity to accusations once leveled against former US First Lady Michelle Obama.

Comedian Joan Rivers stated in 2014 that Mrs. Obama is "a transgender. We all know it,” and some right-wingers still insist that the former first lady was born a man named Michael. Right-wing polemicist Alex Jones claimed in 2017 to have “photos and videos” to prove it.

Jones’ claims were never substantiated, nor were they ever publicly acknowledged by the Obamas.

Mrs. Macron has chosen to confront her accusers in court, a decision that could draw negative publicity to her family ahead of France’s presidential election in April. Emmanuel Macron has not yet officially entered the race, and his approval rating has hovered around 40% for the last year. However, despite opposition on the right from Valerie Pecresse, Marine Le Pen, and anti-establishment firebrand Eric Zemmour, Macron is currently slated to win reelection.