French first lady sues two women over trans claims
Brigitte Macron at a function in Paris last week Stefano RELLANDINI AFP/File

Brigitte Macron, France's first lady, has filed a lawsuit against two women who claimed she was transsexual, sparking a wave of online rumor-mongering weeks ahead of her husband's expected re-election campaign, a legal source said Friday.

A first hearing in the case has been set for June 15 in Paris on claims of a violation of privacy and fundamental personal rights, and illicit use of her image.

A lawyer for Brigitte Macron declined to comment on the suit that was first reported by M6 television, which said it was co-filed by Brigitte Macron's three children from a previous marriage as well as her brother.

In recent months messages have multiplied on social media claiming that the first lady, formerly Brigitte Trogneux, is a trans woman whose name at birth was Jean-Michel.

The two women targeted in the lawsuit, one a self-proclaimed spiritual medium and the other an independent journalist, posted the rumour along with pictures of the first lady and her family on YouTube in December.

The post coincided with a surge in the hashtag #JeanMichelTrogneux on Twitter and other networks.

Emmanuel Macron's relationship with his wife 24 years his senior, whom he met while she was a teacher and he was still a teenager, has been a source of media attention in France and abroad.

It is not the first time that the couple has been targeted by rumors about gender or sexual orientation: During the 2017 presidential campaign, Emmanuel Macron denied claims about his alleged homosexuality.

© 2022 AFP