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Everything you need to know about LGBT+ policy in the Lib Dem manifesto

They want gender ‘X’ markers for legal documents

On Wednesday, Jo Swinson unveiled the Liberal Democrats' 2019 manifesto ahead of next month's election, and they're pledging to improve LGBT+ rights across the spectrum.

The Lib Dems want to commit to improving transgender rights, reforming the Gender Recognition Act to make it easier for trans people to change their gender identity.

They would also improve the experience of LGBT+ asylum seekers, and ensure that LGBT+ relationship education is taught to every child. This is everything you need to know:

Transgender rights

The Lib Dems are pledging to completely reform the Gender Recognition Act so trans people can change their legal gender without payment or medical records.

They would also recognise the validity of non-binary identities, enabling gender markers of 'X' on legal documents like passports for people who don't fit into the gender binary of male and female.

LGBT+ education

After recent protests over LGBT+ relationships education in primary schools, Swinson is pledging to enshrine LGBT-inclusive education under a 'curriculum for life.' Children would be taught an 'age-appropriate' programme on topics like LGBT+ relationships, consent and mental health.

Bullying in schools would also be tackled, specifically targeting bullying based on someone's sexuality or gender identity or expression.

Equality in healthcare

The Liberal Democrats promise to review how LGBT+ people are treated in the healthcare system.

They would ensure that LGBT-specific health issues receive an equal amount of funding and research as general health issues. This includes making sure mental health services are equally available for LGBT+ patients.

The Lib Dems would also review the controversial and outdated policy of banning gay and bisexual men from donating blood, and prevent similar discrimination towards LGBT+ people.

Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), the drug used for HIV prevention, would also be made fully available to patients who need it.

Tackling social injustice

A Liberal Democrat government would include a question on LGBT+ status in the 2021 census, to ensure accurate statistics on the community.

They also pledge that LGBT+ voices would be amplified in public life, with LGBT+ shortlists in politics and extending the Equality Act to ensure large companies look after their LGBT+ employees.

Paternal leave would also be extended from two weeks to six weeks, making things easier for male LGBT+ parents.

On the global front, the Lib Dems would also end the Conservative policy of denying asylum to LGBT+ people who could pass as 'discreet,' putting a stop to the current culture of disbelief surrounding LGBT+ asylum seekers.

Have the Lib Dems always been LGBT+ allies?

These policies seem like a huge result for social justice, and a definite move away from the culture of tolerance to an atmosphere of acceptance. However, the Liberal Democrats don't exactly have a crystal clear record when it comes to LGBT+ issues.

During the 2017 general electio, former Lib Dem leader Tim Farron refused to answer whether he believed homosexuality was a sin, leading to widespread condemnation and his eventual resignation.

In the last few months of political chaos, the Lib Dems have accepted former Tory MPs who have actively opposed LGBT+ rights in House of Commons votes.

Former Tory MP Phillip Lee defected to the Lib Dems in September, and abstained from voting on marriage equality in 2013, writing in GeaReading: "I believe marriage should be left to churches."

He also tabled a bill preventing asylum being granted to LGBT+ people with HIV, but told The Guardian's Focus podcast his views have been misrepresented.

He said: "My view was that it’s better that with people coming into this country we knew their status so that they could be treated, and also that we could prevent further infection spreading. That’s not how it’s been portrayed in certain quarters."

You can see how your Lib Dem MP has voted on LGBT+ issues here.

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Featured image credit: SWNS

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