LibDem Conference Accreditation: The “I am Spartacus” edition

The latest round in the ongoing LibDem conference accreditation saga has been opened by party president Tim Farron in a LibDemVoice post.

It isn’t good. (Although kudos to Tim Farron for engaging with and discussing the issue – it’s a situation he probably had no role in creating)

Firstly, the cardinal rule of minority issues has been broken: “Nothing about us, without us”. LGBT+ LibDems did not know this was going to be announced and we certainly didn’t approve anything like this. From what Tim has said subsequently on Twitter, it appears that no Trans people at all were involved in coming up with the solution.

Unsurprisingly as a result, the solution is unworkable: If you out yourself to the party as Trans, we’ll let you bypass accreditation. But given that the concern was the risk of people being outed in the first place… well, I suspect you can see the problem. It appears that those in charge didn’t quite understand the concerns.

And if LGBT+LD are involved in vouching for people, I have no idea how we’re supposed to tell. It may surprise people to know that there is no secret handshake and no piece of paper that everyone will have that can serve as proof. So even if we had a system to verify paperwork, at some level we’d just have to take people’s word for it!

A possible solution to all this mess is lots of cis people to come forward and also say they’re Trans. That way, nobody can be quite sure if you’re Trans or not just because you bypassed accreditation.

This also has the advantage that anyone with a sensitive identity who has concerns about accreditation, perhaps because you’re the victim of domestic abuse and changed your name or you have a history of attacking deputy Prime Ministers, you can still get in to conference.

We can call it the “Spartacus” system.


  1. Many people have flagged up concerns on twitter with Tim about this who has said he will continue to work with LGBT Lib Dems and the police to make a system that works. I don’t know what more you want the man to do?

    If the system has too many people in the Police will just say no and then you are back to square one. At least he is trying!!

    1. We’ve been quite clear on this every time we’ve asked: Any policy that requires anyone to “out” themselves to the party is useless, as it doesn’t address the basic issues.

      It’s essentially coming up with something for the sake of coming up with something, perhaps to try to make it look like you’re trying to help without actually doing anything productive.

      I am grateful to Tim for engaging at least, it seems he may have been misinformed by others as to what the issues are and how accepting we are of certain possible solutions. It would be nice if he’s spoke to someone T* before coming up with this however!

      1. But surely that’s not his fault – your argument is more aimed at your exec than him. He’s gone out of his way to consult.

        1. Zoe and I *are* our exec (well, part of it). We made very clear, when asked by FCC, why a system like this wouldn’t work. The current indication is that we seem to have been ignored.

          I appreciate this is not Tim’s fault – at worse he seems to have been badly briefed.

  2. It’s such a shame that the party which I felt was the most likely to make an attempt to understand such trans issues seems to be unable to do so, even with clearly identified trans leaders within its organisation. Why don’t they just sit down and plan this out with you when you’re both willing to provide them exactly the sort of support they need?


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