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Labour candidate is UK's first publicly non-binary person to stand as MP

Will Taylor
News Reporter
Thom Kirkwood, Labour's candidate for Richmond, is the first publicly non-binary person standing for election to Parliament.

The first publicly non-binary candidate for Parliament believes potential MPs in past elections may also have identified as neither a man or woman - but felt they couldn’t open up about it.

Thom Kirkwood, 28, who is standing for Labour in the Richmond constituency in North Yorkshire, does not identify as exclusively a man or a woman, uses the pronouns ‘they’ and ‘them’ and the courtesy title ‘Mx’.

They are hoping to unseat the Tory chief secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak in the general election next month.

Mx Kirkwood told Yahoo News UK: “The response I've had - both online and locally - has been overwhelmingly positive.

“Though there have been the odd abusive posts, the overwhelming majority of comments have been positive.

“Whether they agree or disagree with my political views, Lib Dems, Conservatives, Greens, and others have been very supportive.

Mx Kirkwood is hoping to unseat Rishi Sunak (REUTERS/Hannah McKay)

“A few people have tweeted that they think I'm brave, and I really don't see that: most people are open-minded and understanding - I have faith in people.

“In the constituency, most people's reaction has been support or curiosity - people care much more about my policies than my gender.”

Mx Kirkwood, a secondary school teacher from Croft-on-Tees, believes a non-binary person may have run in past elections but felt unable to speak up.

“I think that it's possible or even probable that there have been past candidates who've been non-binary but either didn't have the language to express that to people or didn't feel confident being open about it,” Mx Kirkwood said.

Thom Kirkwood's leader Jeremy Corbyn speaks during a visit to Glasgow. (REUTERS/Russell Cheyne)

“I think representation for non-binary people is very important: one, to be visible so that people can see we're much the same as anyone else; and two, to be visible to younger non-binary people so they don't feel limited by being non-binary.”

Thom, a Quaker who enjoys reading, cricket and knitting, says they want to protect community services and expressed concerns about the impact of climate change and the government’s Brexit deal on Richmond’s agricultural sector.

They also want to update the law so non-binary people can be legally recognised, which would include them being allowed gender-neutral passports.