Maria Munir

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Maria Munir
Maria Munir.jpg
Munir in 2018
Place of birth Watford, UK
Nationality British
Pronouns they/them[1]
Occupation public speaker/activist


Maria Munir is a public speaker and human rights defender who speaks out on a range of discrimination issues, including transgender rights and nonbinary discrimination.

In April 2016, Munir came out as nonbinary on live television at a question and answer session with former US President Barack Obama during his state visit to the United Kingdom. The decision to declare their nonbinary identity publicly gained significant media discussion of nonbinary rights and Munir was interviewed about their views on the subject by The Guardian, Channel 4, The Telegraph and others.[2][3][4][5][6][7]

Munir has campaigned so that the UK Equality Act 2010 extend its provisions to nonbinary individuals. Approximately 250,000 people are not recognized by this act.[8]

Munir was born with unilateral facial palsy across the left side of their face.[1] They created a poster campaign highlighting the symptoms of facial palsy,[9] and worked with Fixers UK to broadcast a segment on the television program Calendar on ITV Tyne Tees about the effects of the condition,[10][11] and addressed a conference of the Royal Society of Medicine in October 2015, to an audience of paediatricians and other professionals.[12]

Political career[edit | edit source]

Munir has been an active member of the Liberal Democrats, standing as a council candidate in their home town of Watford in the 2016 Watford Borough Council election. They stood in the Vicarage ward, a Labour Party stronghold, coming fourth with 279 votes.[13] Munir campaigned for Sal Brinton's election as the Party Chair,[14] and co-wrote the Your Liberal Britain strategy for the Liberal Democrats in September 2017 with Elaine Bagshaw, Duncan Brack, Rory Freckleton, Lee Howgate, Scott Smith, and Stephen Tall.[15][16]

Awards[edit | edit source]

In 2016 Munir was shortlisted for the Christine Jackson award by the advocacy group Liberty for their work highlighting the inequality which exists in UK law relating to nonbinary people.[17][8] They were also named as one of 8 Girls' Champions as part of the BBC's 100 Women series.[18][19]

Links[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Challenging Obama Was My Greatest Challenge". HuffPost UK. 2016-05-06. Retrieved 2018-05-20.
  2. Munir, Maria (2016-04-27). "Why I came out as non-binary to Barack Obama". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 2018-05-20.
  3. Khomami, Nadia (24 April 2016). "I thought it's now or never, says student who came out as non-binary to Obama". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 May 2018. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. Channel 4 News (2016-04-23), Maria Munir on life in non-binary, retrieved 2018-07-25
  5. "Transgender campaigner calls out Barack Obama on LGBTQ progress". The Independent. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  6. "Obama hears youth leaders' concerns about LGBT rights, Brexit at British town hall". The Star. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  7. Mullin, Gemma (2016-04-23). "Brave gender equality campaigner reveals deeply personal secret to Barack Obama". mirror. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Banks, Elliott (2016-10-22). "York student shortlisted for human rights award". Nouse. Retrieved 2018-05-20.
  9. "Facial Palsy Awareness". www.fixers.org.uk. Retrieved 2018-05-21.
  10. Fixers UK (2014-06-06), Fixers Facial Palsy Story on ITV News Calendar, June 2014, retrieved 2018-05-21 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  11. Fixers UK (2014-06-23), Fixers Facial Palsy Story on ITV News Tyne Tees, June 2014, retrieved 2018-05-21 CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  12. "Patients and families as the new educators". www.rsm.ac.uk. Retrieved 2018-05-21.
  13. "Watford Borough Ward 2016 results". www.watford.gov.uk. Retrieved 2018-05-21.
  14. "Supporters". Sal Brinton. Retrieved 2018-05-21.
  15. "Writing our Vision Statement | Your Liberal Britain". liberalbritain.org. Retrieved 2018-05-21.
  16. "Your Liberal Britain: Your Vision for Liberal Britain" (PDF). Retrieved 2020-01-15.
  17. sarahdaly (2016-10-13). "Human Rights Awards 2016: Shortlist". Liberty Human Rights. Retrieved 2018-05-21.
  18. "Maria Munir chosen as Girls' Champion for BBC's 100 Women". Liberal Democrat Voice. Retrieved 2018-07-25.
  19. "About". Maria Munir. 2014-05-26. Retrieved 2018-07-25.