The Liberal Democrats have been at the forefront of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT+) equality for decades. We have the best record in Parliament of any political party on LGBT+ equality issues, and we continue to develop and promote progressive policies for LGBT+ people. The Liberal Democrat Federal Constitution makes our position clear:
The Liberal Democrats exist to build and safeguard a fair, free and open society, in which we seek to balance the fundamental values of liberty, equality and community, and in which no one shall be enslaved by poverty, ignorance or conformity.
You can see a detailed timeline of the story of Liberal, Social Democrats, Lib Dems and LGBT+ equality on the LGBT Lib Dems website here.
The most well-known Lib Dem successes on LGBT+ rights were during the years of the Coalition Government between 2010 and 2015.
- Liberal Democrats ensured that the Conservative-led Coalition Government produced a five-year plan on what progress would be achieved for the LGBT community during our time in Government.
- Lib Dem ministers led on ending the lifetime ban on men who have sex with men donating blood. Initially, it was reduced to a 12-month ban which was subject to review. This meant it later dropped to 3 months.
- Lib Dems, and in particular Lib Dem minister Lynne Featherston, championed the Same-Sex Marriage Bill for England & Wales and on 17th July 2013 it passed into law. The policy had passed at our conference in 2010 and was central to the Coalition agreement.
- Lib Dem minister Jo Swinson published a message for Bi Visibility Day - the first time the UK government had ever acknowledged the awareness day.
- The Coalition provided £2 million to address homophobic bullying. Jo Swinson announced the funding in her role as Minister for Women and Equalities saying "We know the damage bullies can have on young people's self-esteem and educational attainment. There should be absolutely no excuse for this taking place in our schools. I am excited to see the creative proposals that this fund will bring about, to make sure we can bring homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying to an end."
- Lib Dem peer Baroness Liz Barker leads the first Lords debate on queer women's health.
As a member-led party, our policy is democratically decided by the whole party - members through to MPs. Our current suite of equality policies is as follows:
- Continuing to move towards fully Equal Marriage:
- Allow the Church of England to conduct same-sex marriages, should it decide to do so.
- Introduce Mixed-sex civil partnerships.
- Ending the Spousal Veto and restoring stolen trans marriages.
- Promoting EU-wide recognition of same-sex marriage and civil partnerships.
- Ending the Blood donation ban.
- Ending LGBT conversion therapy, including extending the existing NHS Memorandum of Understanding to cover trans people.
- Tackling LGBTphobic bullying in schools.
- Banning homophobic chanting at sports matches.
- Ensuring inclusive sexualities' in advertising, media, and sport and positive images of transgender individuals in central government publications.
- Introducing "X" gender markers on passports.
- Removing the requirement for a diagnosis of gender dysphoria in order to obtain legal gender recognition.
- Ending deportation of LGBT people to countries where they face LGBT-based persecution.
- Leadership Programme, supporting future Parliamentary candidates from under-represented backgrounds through training, mentoring, shadowing opportunities and more.
We hope you have found this overview of our long history of support for the LGBT community and we would love to welcome you to be part of our continuing work on LGBT+ and other issues. If this interests you, you can: