Emmanuel Macron’s wife has found herself under a barrage of online claims that she is transgender, born as a male, with the media pointing the finger at far-right conspiracy theorists.
Amid speculation over her gender that has taken the Francophone section of Twitter by storm this week, Brigitte Macron is going to file a complaint, according to French media citing people from her inner circle. However, she is yet to make an official comment on the matter.
Online rumor has it that the French first lady was born a man named “Jean-Michel Trogneux,” while her official biography states she was given the name Brigitte Marie-Claude Trogneux and was born female.
French media say they managed to track down the claim, and say it first cropped up in late September in the outlet ‘Facts and Documents,’ which is said to specialize in far-right conspiracy theories. However, it was not until this Monday that the claims began making the rounds on social media. According to Numerama news website, a total of 34,000 posts have been identified on Twitter, sharing the claims under the hashtag #JeanMichelTrogneux. The outlet goes on to accuse “accounts peddling conspiracy theories, far-right circles, anti-vaxxers, QAnon groups and singer Francis Lalanne” for making the rumor one of the most discussed topics in the ‘French’ section of social media.
As ‘proof’ of the claims, social media users cite, among other things, the scarcity of Brigitte Macron’s photos in her youth that have been made public, as well as her alleged tendency to “hide her neck.”
A key name in the story is journalist Natacha Rey, who claims to have investigated Brigitte Macron’s past for three years. In a recent interview, Ray said she had managed to procure documents confirming that the first lady had been born male, and that this ‘evidence’ was “in a sealed envelope, in the care of a lawyer,” adding that she would make it public if and when sweeping Covid vaccine mandates were introduced in France.
French media report that over the past week there have been several attempts to edit the Wikipedia article devoted to the 68-year-old first lady, with users trying to add claims that her name at birth was Jean-Michel Trogneux. As a result, the page has been put in a ‘semi-protected’ status to prevent such changes.
In fact, Brigitte Macron is not the only first lady or female head of state who has been targeted with such rumors. For instance, back in 2017 conservative radio show host and the man behind the InfoWars website, Alex Jones, claimed that Michelle Obama, the wife of the 44th US president, “appears to have a very large penis” and also “looks like a tr*nny.”
Similarly, there have been claims that Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand’s prime minister, is also transgender.
It is worth noting, though, that none of those rumors have ever been proven or backed up with conclusive evidence.