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Lib Dem Conference Votes to Support Trans and Non Binary People In Party

September 30, 2020 12:17 PM

On the last day of Liberal Democrat Conference, members resoundingly supported a motion to support trans and non binary people in the party.

The motion (F32) was proposed and summated by LGBT+ LD Exec Members Fraser Graham and Charley Hasted. The motion noted with concern the recent hostility to the trans community in the media, and the disappointing shelving of GRA reform which we condemned earlier in September. The motion also acknowledged the total absence of openly trans or non-binary individuals elected to the House of Commons.

The motion then re-affirmed the Liberal Democrats' commitment to trans and non-binary rights, affirming people's right to define their gender as they choose; to be treated with respect; and to be able to attend party conference and events without fear of harassment or discrimination.

To enable this, the motion made four specific recommendations:

  1. That Lib Dem HQ and all venues for Federal and Regional conferences should have at least one gender-neutral toilet facility.
  2. That conference passes should include preferred pronouns for all attendees, with all attendees permitted to specify their preferred pronouns or to opt not to have pronouns shown on their pass
  3. Speakers cards for conference debates to allow for pronouns to be specified
  4. And to introduce guidance for presenters, chairs and stewards at party events and training to avoid unnecessarily gendered language

The motion was supported by fantastic speeches from across the membership - from LGBT+ members to cis-straight allies and MPs. It passed resoundingly 520-74 (88%-12%), a strong display of the party membership and leadership's commitment to trans and non binary rights. This adds to the party's recent formal adoption of a new definition of transphobia to better protect trans members within our party.

While LGBT+ LD celebrates this decisive victory, we cannot afford to be complacent - be it in our own party or in politics in general. While LGBT+ LD is very grateful to the hundreds of members who have shown themselves to be allies of trans and non-binary people, several of the speeches against the motion were deeply troubling. We commend the bravery and resilience of the trans and non-binary speakers who spoke in favour of the motion, in the face of the deeply hurtful and troubling remarks made by some of those speaking against.

LGBT+ LD will continue fighting for the dignity of trans and non-binary people, and helping to educate and equip members and activists to fight back against transphobia. We are encouraged by Party President Mark Pack's commitment to now implementing the motion, and by Leader Ed Davey's commitments to work more closely with diversity AOs and SAOs, and we look forward to working with them and others within the party to implement the changes mandated by the passing of this motion.

The 88% victory for Monday's motion in support of trans and non binary people was encouraging - but there is much work to be done.