Jo Swinson and Ed Davey speak out on LGBT rights

Jo Swinson and Ed Davey have both spoken out in favour of LGBT rights on London Pride weekend.

In an article for Pink News, Jo stood up for trans rights:

As a cis woman, I can’t pretend to understand the experience of questioning one’s own identity, nor do I face the same potential risks or dangers when I speak up about these issues. But that doesn’t take away my passionate belief that trans rights are human rights. I’m a feminist, and I hate hearing that I’m not allowed to believe both in women’s rights and the rights of trans women. Trans women ARE women.

The Liberal Democrats must continue to lead the campaign for self-identification. As Leader, I would champion trans, non-binary, genderfluid, and self-defined gender identities – making clear that there is no equality or liberty without defending the rights of everyone.

Trans people should be able to legally change their gender without the current medicalised hoops to jump through; their own experience should be enough.

And she touched on the need for mandatory inclusive sex education:

At the same time, we must teach children about LGBT+ matters in schools. This is a key part of building equality and inclusivity into the foundations of our society. Education should help our children negotiate the world and understand the communities they’re a part of. We owe it to them to provide them with the best information we can to live their lives happily, safely, and without discrimination.

I respect everyone’s right to their own religious beliefs, but for me, this cannot extend to our education system treating some people’s lives and identities as if they are less worthy of respect. We must also acknowledge that there are many LGBT+ people in faith groups for whom their sexuality and faith are both central to their identity. They need our support and protection.

Ed called for better representation of LGBT+ people on children’s programmes on the BBC, writing to the Director General:

Dear Lord Hall,

I am writing to urge you to ask BBC officials to conduct a review into equality and diversity in children’s programming.

I think the case for doing so is clear.  The anti-equality protests in Birmingham have put in stark relief the need for young people to be taught about the diversity of families and relationships in our society, in an age-appropriate way.

I think we should be seeing more LGBT+ characters in television, including on some of the most popular shows. The BBC can be a trailblazer in this area, making sure that children at a younger age understand equality and tolerance.

In the U.S., campaign group GLAAD are calling for 10% of series regular characters on primetime scripted broadcast series to be LGBTQ within the next two years. I think this is a target which deserves consideration here at home too.

Recently, PBS in America aired the 22nd series of children’s TV show ‘Arthur’ and the opening episode featured the marriage of Arthur’s Mr. Ratburn to his same-sex partner Patrick. This illustrates just how far both television, and audiences have come: the show treated it as a joyous celebration of a happy relationship as did its viewers, both young and old alike.  This is how broadcasting can help to make a difference.

It’s so important to let young LGBT+ people and children with same-sex parents see that they are represented in mainstream media and that there is nothing abnormal about them. This weekend we celebrate Pride and 50 years of progress on LGBT+ issues but we know that there is still so much more to be done to improve inclusivity throughout our country. I hope you will agree that the BBC should be playing its part too.

Kind regards,

Ed Davey MP

Whichever wins, we know that this party will continue to campaign for LGBT rights with vigour and passion.

 

 

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