A brave gender equality campaigner broke down as they came out to Barack Obama as a non-binary person live on television.

Maria Munir urged the US President - as well as David Cameron - to take gender neutral people seriously and asked what more could be done at a questions and answer session.

The 20-year-old politics student from Watford, who is non-binary, which means they don't recognise as either male or female, told the president: "Now I'm about to do something terrifying, which is I'm coming out to you as a non-binary person, which means that I don't fit - I'm getting emotional, I'm so sorry - because I'm from a Pakistani-Muslim background which inevitably has complications.

"In the UK we don't recognise non-binary people under the equality act, so we literally have no rights.

"I'm still at university and running for local election and at the same time I've managed to get them to respect pronouns, to commit to gender neutral toilets."

Maria Munir is a university student in York and also a Vicarage Ward candidate for the Liberal Democrats.

Speaking afterwards Maria explained: "It was something the President said about acting crazy - that if you need to get a social issue across sometimes you need to act a little crazy.

"At that moment I thought that I've been sitting on this issue for such a long time and it was time.

"It was now or never. I haven't come out to my parents, I just thought, it anyone in the world is going to accept me for who I am it should be the President of the United States."

Explaining what it means to be non-binary, Maria said: "Non-binary describes anyone who feels that they do not exclusively fit the accepted definitions of man and woman.

"Some people would say they are non-binary men or women; others would say they are both or either, while others still reject both labels entirely.

"The key thing to understand is that, while your biological sex is defined socially and scientifically through your physical body – as male, female, or intersex – gender is a trickier construct.

"Throughout history, the words 'man' and 'woman' have represented certain traits and characteristics. This is the gender binary, as there are only two options: man and woman.

"Non-binary people recognise that there is more to gender than this."

Maria said they had not expected to be asked a question, and the response to the question had been largely supportive.

The 500 young people at the event in London cheered as they sat down and prepared for Obama's response.

"I thought you were going to ask to come here and dance with me," he joked, as the crowd burst into applause again.

He continued: "But look, I'm incredibly proud of the steps you've already taken to speak out about your own experience and to try to create a social movement and change laws.

"It sounds to me like you're on the right track. I can't speak for David Cameron but I will say that on LBGT issues I think David's been ahead of the curve relative to a lot of other leaders around the world."

On the second full day of his visit, Mr Obama addressed young people in Westminster and then took questions from them.