Lib Dems: Government is ‘lagging behind’ on trans issues

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Lib Dem leader Tim Farron has claimed that the Conservatives are ‘stalling’ on trans issues.

The party leader claimed that the current Tory majority government is not keeping up with the record it set on equality while in coalition with his party.

The UK lost its ranking as the best country on Europe on LGBT rights earlier this year, outstripped by Malta.

Other countries have pushed ahead on trans issues and gender issues – with Ireland introducing a revolutionary system that makes changing legal gender as simple as renewing a passport.

Though equalities minister Nicky Morgan says she is “open” to the idea, the government has rebuffed calls for a similar system.

Writing for HuffPo, the MP for Westmorland and Lonsdale claimed: “On this issue – like so many others, we still seem to have a Conservative party which trails public opinion rather than stands fast on principle.

“In Coalition we pulled them along with us but without the firm, unwavering hand of the Liberal Democrats they’ve stalled.

“In 2011, thanks to the work of Lynne Featherstone we published a Transgender Action Plan, we hope that this isn’t simply just put away in a box marked ‘Coalition work’, it will need to be revisited, updated and improved.”

He added: “Something as small as not having to choose whether to tick the male or female box on applications can make a huge difference.

“In the last Parliament we desperately tried to get the Tories to agree to introducing gender neutral passports.

“This is not as radical an idea as it might seem – other countries like Australia have already introduced it and it is accepted by the International Civil Aviation Organisation.

“It is frankly ridiculous that even on something this small the Tories have refused to act.”