Legal Pride 2020
Well the 27th June would have been London Pride 2020 – instead we were in Lockdown Pride. I live in Greenwich and work in Islington so London Pride is a big day in the calendar for me and my friends as well as The Law Society which helps co-ordinate Legal Pride with The Bar Council and the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives. As a member of The Law Society’s LGBT+ membership committee, in the past I have marched in and supported not only London and Cardiff Prides (where The Law Society has its offices) but this year (as last) we were planning to join prides in Bristol, Newcastle, Leeds and Manchester.
Managing Partner, Jonathan Wheeler celebrating pride 2019 with friends
So this year the lawyers celebrated #LegalPride2020 online, with podcasts from lawyers from other jurisdictions, as well as celebrating our community at home too, with UK Black Pride and Trans Pride Brighton added to our virtual agenda.
The case for encouraging diversity in our profession has been well-made for some time. I believe that only by being able to live an authentic professional life (bringing your ‘whole self’ to work) can you be fulfilled as a lawyer and as a human being. There is much to do – “the old (white) (straight) boys’ network” continues to dominate in the law. For our institutions to not only acknowledge but also celebrate our community with us at pride events and at other times is vital. I have to say I loved it when pre-virus I was able to walk down Chancery Lane in June and see the rainbow flag hoisted above the street, flying from number 113, The Law Society’s own imposing building, which one might otherwise have thought of as a bastion of tradition.
My heroine of our times is Master McCloud, a judge in the Queen’s Bench Division of The High Court. Appointed in 2010, she was (and I think still is) the most senior out trans person in our judiciary. Her enlightened views on conducting compensation claims for non-recent child abuse cases, and trying to establish cross-party support for those was commendable. Above all, trans people today experience the sort of phobia which I remember being levelled against gay people when I was growing up. For trans people to show up visibly in the judiciary, as in all walks of life, has to be the key to facing up to and combating prejudice. By quietly getting on with the job, Master McCloud is making a contribution to that every day.