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France’s Response to Non-Binary Pronouns Controversy Will Have Conservatives Putting on Berets

Prominent French officials are speaking out after a prominent dictionary introduced the gender-neutral pronoun.


Some Americans on the right are looking admiringly at France’s rejection of “wokeness.”


Jean-Michel Blanquer, France’s education minister, criticized Le Petit Robert’s decision to add the term, “iel,” to its latest online edition, The New York Times reported.

“You must not manipulate the French language, whatever the cause,” said Blanquer, who last month told French newspaper Le Monde that a backlash against woke ideology led to Donald Trump’s election in 2016.

  • French First Lady Brigitte Macron expressed similar sentiments, saying, “there are two pronouns: he and she.”
  • Le Petit Robert defines “iel” as “a third person subject pronoun in the singular and plural used to evoke a person of any gender.”
  • Charles Bimbenet, the dictionary’s director-general, said in a statement that, “The mission of the Robert is to observe the evolution of a French language that is in motion and diverse, and take account of that.”

In February, French President Emmanuel Macron voiced concern about progressive ideologies and “certain social science theories entirely imported from the United States.”


Right-wingers in the United States, including Center for the Study of Partisanship and Ideology president Richard Hanania, praised the French response.

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