Lib Dem manifesto pledges Gender Recognition Act reform, Gender X passports, LGBT+ asylum reforms
The Liberal Democrat manifesto includes high-profile pledges on LGBT+ issues.
Released on Wednesday ahead of December’s snap election, the Lib Dem manifesto calls for the completion of long-stalled efforts to reform the Gender Recognition Act to make it easier for trans people to change their legal gender.
Liberal Democrats pledge major LGBT+ rights reforms
The party backs the introduction of legal gender ‘X’ markers on documents, to permit non-binary and intersex people to gain legal recognition for the first time.
The manifesto also commits to ensuring that all children are taught about LGBT+ relationships, and backs efforts to lobby for the decriminalisation of homosexuality around the world.
The document also includes pledges to “end the culture of disbelief” for LGBT+ asylum seekers, and ban the practise of telling LGBT+ people to return to their home country and be “discreet” about their sexuality or gender identity.
The party’s LGBT-inclusive image was previously dented during the 2017 election, when former leader Tim Farron refused to say whether he believed homosexuality is a sin.
Current leader Jo Swinson stood on a pro-LGBT platform, writing for PinkNews: “As Leader of the Liberal Democrats, I promise to lead us in campaigning at every opportunity in making sure no-one faces discrimination, prejudice or disadvantage because of their sexuality or gender identity.”
Lib Dem manifesto LGBT+ pledges in full
The LGBT-specific policies are listed below:
● Tackle bullying in schools, including bullying on the basis of gender, sexuality, gender identity, or gender expression, by promoting pastoral leadership in schools and delivering high-quality sex and relationships education.
● Require schools to introduce gender-neutral uniform policies and break down outdated perceptions of gender appropriateness of certain subjects.
● Introduce a ‘curriculum for life’, in all state-funded schools. This will include Personal, Social and Health Education, financial literacy, environmental awareness, first aid and emergency lifesaving skills, mental health education, citizenship and age-appropriate Relationships and Sex Education (RSE). Teaching about sexual consent, LGBT+ relationships, and issues surrounding explicit images and content will be included in RSE.
Global LGBT+ rights
● Develop a comprehensive strategy for promoting the decriminalisation of homosexuality around the world and advancing LGBT+ rights
● Offer asylum to people fleeing the risk of violence because of their sexual orientation or gender identification, end the culture of disbelief for LGBT+ asylum seekers and never refuse an LGBT+ applicant on the basis that they could be discreet.
● Complete reform of the Gender Recognition Act to remove the requirement for medical reports, scrap the fee and recognise non-binary gender identities.
● Introduce an ‘X’ gender option on passports and extend equality law to cover gender identity and expression.
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● Review on the basis of evidence any unscientifc and discriminatory practices aimed solely at LGBT+ people, such as around blood donations.
● Ensure Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV prevention is fully available to all who need it on the NHS.
● Require that a fair proportion of all public funding for health research should be focused on research into mental ill-health, including research into the different mental health needs of different communities within the UK such as BAME and LGBT+ people.
● Ensure that LGBT+ inclusive mental health services receive funding and support
● Address continuing inequalities in health services access faced by same-sex couples, and continue to improve LGBT+ healthcare overall.
● Extend the Equality Act to all large companies with more than 250 employees, requiring them to monitor and publish data on gender, BAME, and LGBT+ employment levels and pay gaps.
● Increase statutory paternity leave from the current two weeks up to six weeks and ensure that parental leave is a day-one right, and address continuing inequalities faced by same-sex couples.
● Ensure accurate population data on sexual orientation and gender identity by including a question on LGBT+ status within the 2021 Census.
● Tackle the rise in hate crimes by making them all aggravated offences, giving law enforcement the resources and training they need to identify and prevent them, and condemning inflammatory rhetoric – including anti-Semitism and Islamophobia – by those with public platforms.
● Legislate to allow all-BAME and all-LGBT+ shortlists
● Complete the introduction of equal marriage, by:
– Removing the spousal veto.
– Allowing those marriages that were dissolved solely due to the Gender Recognition process to be retrospectively restored.
– Enabling the Church of England and Church in Wales to conduct same-sex marriages