The Lib Dems have been criticised after passing a motion stating that periods are “not just a women’s issue”.
Members overwhelmingly voted in favour of the wider policy motion on period poverty, put forward by the Young Liberals and a local branch in London, at the party’s conference in Bournemouth today.
It stated: “Conference notes that… menstruation is not just a women’s issue, and also affects some trans and non-binary people.”
The motion went on: “Conference believes that period products are a human right, not a luxury; nobody should experience period poverty; England’s current free period product provision is not fit for purpose; it is in everyone’s interests for the stigma around periods to be addressed.”
But the party was criticised by a leading women’s rights campaigner who said it was a “bleak moment”.
Helen Joyce, director of advocacy at Sex Matters, said: “Passing a motion saying that periods aren’t just a women’s issue is a bleak moment for the Liberal Democrats.
“Language about health issues must be clear and factual, and the fact is that only girls and women have periods.
“Any policy to do with sanitary products has to be clear that no men or boys need them. With this motion, the Liberal Democrats have further demonstrated how out of touch they are with voters, who dislike gender ideology more, the more they know about it.”
Speaking during the debate, Helen Cross, chair of Liberal Democrat Women, welcomed “the inclusion of non-binary and trans people in this motion”.
She added: “A measure of a liberal society is how well we protect our minorities.”
Lib Dem councillor Donna Harris said: “The question of period poverty overwhelmingly affects women and girls of course.
“But we are a deliberately inclusive party and this is a deliberately inclusive motion.”
It comes after Lib Dem leader Sir Ed Davey previously said that women can “quite clearly” have a penis.