A non-binary student publicly came out for the first time—to President Obama

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A courageous British university student is being praised worldwide after coming out as a non-binary person to President Obama.


“I’m from a Pakistani Muslim background, which inevitably will have cultural and I know that in North Carolina recently with the bathroom bill people are being forced to produce birth certificates to prove their gender in order to go to the toilet," an emotional Maria Munir told Obama at Town Hall for young people in central London on Saturday. "In the U.K. we don’t recognize non-binary people under the Equality Act, so if there was any discrimination, there’s nothing we could do."


The BBC reported that Munir prefers to be referred to as "they" or "their." Munir told BBC News that this is the first time they have publicly identified as non-binary, which in this context means that Munir does not identify as either gender.

Obama began his response to Munir by saying he is “incredibly proud” of Munir to speak out on the issue. He clarified that the law in North Carolina, which bars trans people from using the bathrooms that conform with their gender identity, is a state measure which he does not have the right to overturn. But he said that Munir should be “encouraged” because of the cultural shift on the issue.

“I just felt this moment of euphoria that finally I would be able to raise and highlight the issue that non-binary transgender people face,” Munir told the BBC later. “If anyone has the power to change things for people like myself across the world, it is President Obama.”

On Twitter, Munir thanked everyone who has sent messages of support.


British Prime Minister David Cameron has issued a travel warning against visiting North Carolina and Mississippi, which have passed so-called "bathroom laws" that insist people must use the bathroom associated with the sex on their birth certificate. Obama on Friday slammed the North Carolina law as "wrong" and said it should be overturned.