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|Spectra and binaries|
Sarah Brown is a British Liberal Democrat politician and LGBT activist. In 2013, she appeared on the Independent on Sunday "Pink List" as the 27th most influential LGBT person in the UK. She has an MA in Computer Science from Cambridge University.
Brown regularly gives lectures at university medical and LGBT societies on the need for better transgender healthcare. She has spoken with government ministers, lords and the Department of Health on improving transgender healthcare, and was on the final review panel for the RCPsych gender dysphoria guidelines. She was also present at psychiatrist Russell Reid's defence at the General Medical Council.
Brown campaigned for gay marriage, submitting a letter to the local paper Cambridge First, arguing that: "The Civil Partnership Act created a form of relationship which was “separate-but-not-quite-equal” for same sex couples wanting to recognise their commitment to each other with a marriage. Despite civil partnerships commonly being referred to as “gay marriages” by the press and public, they do not confer the same rights as a marriage. Being regarded as next-of-kin when abroad is not assured even in countries which have full marriage equality, for example."
Brown has also campaigned against the British government's plan to introduce Internet filters, claiming that although the filters are supposed to prevent access to porn specifically, the filters have a tendency to block all sorts of other sites too because computers are bad at identifying what is and isn't porn. According to her, Internet filters block resource sites, sex education sites, political satire, blogs, equality campaigns and all sorts of things that it is vital to maintain free and open access to.
Views on gender variance
"From my perspective, I see that there are multiple variables to gender. You can have identity, visible expression, behavioural expression, and so on...In addition, each one of these can be fluid, and there are probably a whole host of things I haven’t thought of. This stuff is rich, very rich. Instead what we get are media depictions and a public discourse on gender variant people which is simplistic to levels that I find incredibly frustrating: trans stories have to be accompanies with photographs or video of over-the-top expressions of stereotypical femininity or masculinity; anyone without a simple, binary identity, is considered too challenging...
"I also get the impression that the more “educated discourse”, which ought to have at least moved to a point where it acknowledges that this stuff might be complicated, gravitates all too often to the sort of navel-gazing narrative employed by the Julie Bindels and Janice Raymonds of this world – Gender is bad, it exists only to oppress women, gender must be destroyed, gender variant people are either trying to prop up male gender hegemony themselves, or are unwitting tools of some sort of psychiatric illuminati with the same agenda, gender variant people can’t possibly have anything to offer progressive thought, we hate trans people.
"[It] seems to me that while public awareness of trans people has increased, public perceptions of the rich tapestry of gender variance and gender identity are resolutely stuck in a sort of intellectual pre-stone-age."
- Equal Marriage Letter
- Speech to Lib Dem Autumn 2013 Conference on Internet Porn Filtering. It is worth noting that the name for this very issue originated from a filter blocking the name of a town in England, first preventing its residents from registering e-mail addresses and later mangling Google search results; see the Scunthorpe problem.
- Towards a Less Simplistic Perception of Gender