Elections: The Lib Dem’s reply [updated]

See here for the background to this post.

Updated: this reply was recieved 19th April from the main party headquarters

Dear [first name],

Thank you for your email. Please accept my apologies for the delay in replying

The Liberal Democrats have a long and proud history of fighting for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) equality. We strongly believe that trans individuals should enjoy equal rights and equal treatment in every aspect of their lives.

For many years, trans issues were sadly ignored or misunderstood throughout our society. That’s why I’m delighted that the Liberal Democrats are helping to deliver real change. It was in 1998 that our party first supported the right of people to legally change their gender on their birth certificate. In 2011 we set out the first ever Government transgender equality action plan too. This is helping to break down barriers not just in schools and workplaces, but in healthcare and wider society too.

The Liberal Democrats played a crucial role in helping to bring about the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, and we were the first of the three main parties to support equal marriage. The Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act allows a person who is trans to change their legal gender without this automatically ending their marriage.

Liberal Democrats passed a motion at our Autumn Party Conference in 2014 where we called for further progress. We support reviewing the Gender Recognition Act, which could lead to important changes. For example, trans individuals whose marriages were terminated should have them reinstated if both partners are in favour.

Our 2015 manifesto includes a committment that we will help to stamp out transphobic bullying in schools, which we know can blight the lives of young people. Lib Dems also support the right of trans individuals to have an ‘X’ gender marker in their passport if they wish. And we support the inclusion of positive images of trans individuals in central government publications too, so that trans communities are more visible.

Our party values fairness, celebrates diversity and challenges ignorance and conformity. We believe that every person, regardless of gender, should have the chance to lead a happy and fulfilling life free from prejudice and discrimination. The work of the group Liberal Democrats LGBT+ also helps to inform party policy on transgender issues. As of April 2015, 37 of the Lib Dem candidates standing in this election identify as LGBT – one of whom is trans.

The Liberal Democrats will always campaign tirelessly for the rights of the trans community.

Yours sincerely,

Edward Simpson
Direct Communications Manager
The Liberal Democrats

Earlier reply via the LGBTI Lib Dems – [via email 16 Feb:]

Dear [first name], Thank you for your email. “X” Gender Markers are policy of the entire party (Not just of the LGBT group, as with some other parties) – you can read more at http://lgbt.libdems.org.uk/en/page/x-gender-markers-on-passports. This the main focus of our non-binary work at the moment, as getting the implemented should convince the civil service and others opposed to such changes that it will not suddenly cause the end of the world and make it easier to roll out non-binary ID in other areas. We don’t have full party policy on gender neutral wording in marriage and other legislation because the latest regulations came in too late for inclusion in our latest equalities policy paper – it’s an area we’ll be looking to include when the opportunity for a policy change next arises. LGBT+ Liberal Democrats are working on the mental health motion to be debated at Spring Conference to include better access to gender clinics, with improved funding levels. Non binary inclusion is key to getting equitable treatment for all trans people and we fully recognise this in our policy development. Kind Regards, Zoe O’Connell LGBT+ Liberal Democrats

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