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Lib Dem manifesto pledges Gender Recognition Act reform, Gender X passports, LGBT+ asylum reforms

Nick Duffy November 20, 2019
Liberal Democrats leader Jo Swinson launches the Liberal Democrat election manifesto

Liberal Democrats leader Jo Swinson launches the Liberal Democrat election manifesto (Dan Kitwood/Getty)

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 wide-ranging document also pledges a roll-out of HIV-preventing PrEP drugs on the NHS and an end to “discriminatory practices” around blood donation.

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.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson unveiled the pro-LGBT platform
Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson unveiled the pro-LGBT platform (Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

The progressive platform comes months after a public row over the Lib Dems’ admittance of defecting Tory MPs who have opposed LGBT+ rights, which led to high-profile resignations from its LGBT+ wing.

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:

Education

● 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.

Trans issues

● 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.

Healthcare

● 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.

Business

● 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.

Equality

● 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

More: Gay, general election, LGBT, Liberal Democrats

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