Liberal Democrat Voice fringe meeting: Trans rights are human rights

The panel at our fringe: from left to right: Back row: Caron Lindsay, Liberal Democrat Voice editor (Chair), Sarah Brown, LGBT+ Lib Dems, James Morton, Scottish Transgender Alliance, Emma Ritch, Engender and, front row, Sal Brinton, Liberal Democrat President.

Most of you may notice the odd advert on Liberal Democrat Voice. These help LDV to contribute to the Conference Access Fund, making it easier for those of modest means to attend Lib Dem conferences. With the advert funds, we also sponsor or host fringe meetings at conference.

At Brighton on Saturday, we hosted a fringe meeting in the Hilton hotel entitled: “Transgender and intersex rights – spotlight on the media”. This fringe meeting reflected something we feel very strongly about at LDV Towers: that when people come to our fringe meetings they should be well fed and have good drinks! There were some very good nibbles and drinks at the back of the room.

The meeting discussed tackling transphobia. We heard how Scottish voluntary organisations are working together to ensure that trans equality enhances wider gender equality. Emma Ritch of Engender and James Morton of the Scottish Transgender Alliance outlined how Scotland leads the UK in its progressive and inclusive attitude to trans rights.

Sarah Brown from LGBT+ gave a very personal account of transphobia.

Sal Brinton, President of the Liberal Democrats, also touched on a personal story which has fired her passion for equal rights for trans and intersex people. Sal echoed a couple of articles she has written for Liberal Democrat Voice where she has said:

Transgender rights remain core to our values.

The meeting brought home to me the importance of documentation and how it can be a nightmare to change it. In particular, the panel emphasised how crucial it is that trans and intersex people can modify their birth certificate, from which all other documentation tends to flow.

The panel stressed how important it is to allow trans and intersex people to self-identify, and for society to follow their lead on how to identify them.

We also heard how feminists see supporting trans and intersex people’s rights as core to their feminism.

For further reading, there is an excellent article on this whole subject by Miranda Roberts here.

* Paul Walter is a Liberal Democrat activist and member of the Liberal Democrat Voice team. He blogs at Liberal Burblings.

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