LGBT History Month is an opportunity to promote equality and diversity with events held across the country, in a range of venues on many topics to increase public awareness of LGBT+ people and their history.
In a fast paced and ever-changing professional landscape, it can be hard to find the time to reflect as a professional on who you are, what you believe in and how you can assist with progressing diversity and equality. For me, quite often, LGBT History Month is a ripe opportunity to do exactly that.
It is important that we celebrate the good work around LGBT+ diversity and inclusion that is being done in the legal profession and more widely. Although, there is still an enormous amount of work that is needed to be done. LGBT History Month is an opportunity to attend events, often inspirational and important to your own development, to identify in your mind what is working and where further change and progress is needed.
Of course, not all events are directly seeking to push policies or specific issues. I attended a more contemplative event last year in Leeds which focused on legal hurdles faced by LGBT+ historically. It was less about pursuing further law reform and more about education of the past.
It is a significant period in the calendar as there are often a series of high-quality, interesting events held across the country. The Law Society’s LGBT+ Committee, of which I am part, work in collaboration with law firms of all sizes across the country to ensure there are events for LGBT+ legal professionals and allies during History Month. Please check this page for upcoming events and more information or to collaborate now or in the future. If you get the opportunity, I would urge you to go to some events throughout the month and network with other professionals interested in these issues.
This History Month I will be delivering a lecture at Queen Mary University, London, on LGBT Family Law issues and encouraging attendees to link up with the Law Society for future events. I am also speaking at the University of Law in Leeds which should be a great panel debate event around being an LGBT+ professional.
If you are part of an organisation that is involved in History Month then do attend, especially if you’re an ally or you have yet to attend an event or rarely attends LGBT+ events. You cannot underestimate the value of having a group of interested and engaged people in a room watching a film, debating an issue or sharing personal experiences.
Whether you are an LGBT+ legal professional or an ally I would urge you, regardless of whether you are starting out in your career or are an experienced Partner, to attend events, support colleagues and ensure there is a genuine atmosphere of authenticity to enable meaningful events and positivity around History Month.
Scott Halliday is Family Law Associate at Irwin Mitchell and a member of our LGBT+ Lawyers Division Committee.