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Jo Swinson tells Radio 4 that gender and sex aren’t ‘as binary as they are often presented’

Vic Parsons December 10, 2019
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Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson unveiled the pro-LGBT platform

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson (Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson has reiterated her party’s support for trans rights, telling BBC Radio 4 that sex and gender are not ‘as binary as they are often presented’.

On the Today programme, Swinson defended the Lib Dems’ manifesto pledge to reform the Gender Recognition Act, making it less bureaucratic and invasive for trans people to change the gender on their birth certificates.

The Lib Dems have also vowed to introduce X gender markers on passports, for intersex and non-binary people who wish to use them.

Reforming the GRA will help to address the “demonisation” of trans people, Swinson told Radio 4.

Asked if she believes all people are born either male or female, Swinson said, “Not from what I have read.”

“I am not going to pretend I’m an expert on the subject but I don’t think things are as binary as they are often presented,” Swinson said.

Most people’s biological sex is determined at birth, Swinson said, but that is not always the case. She added that this is not just about science – it’s a “debate about people and their lives and a debate about people who are facing extreme prejudice”.

Jo Swinson also said that she’s a feminist, but that she does not believe in “some hierarchy of equality”.

“Implicit in all of this is an assumption that trans women are, in some way, more likely to be violent. It is just not borne out. I think there is a demonisation of a community going on here and I often find the media is complicit in that,” Swinson said.

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.

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 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.



Related topics: gender recognition act, General Election 2019, Jo swinson, lib dems

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