New UK research reveals that homophobia at the Bar is stronger than in the general population. The outcome of the study was published in the Westminster Law School on 25 September 2017.
Dr. Antu Sorainen visited the event titled Sexuality at the UK Bar that was co-organised with UCL Centre for Ethics and Law. MP Maria Miller opened the evening by stating that the dramatic increase in LGBT hate crimes in the UK since 2013 is worrisome. “As a politician, I welcome all research data in this are because it is hard to get access to it,” MP Miller continued. Dr. Steven Vaughan explained that the majority of respondents in the survey were gay men, and 1/3 was Oxbridge. Half of the respondents had experienced discrimination based on their sexuality.
Further, the study reveals that not only Family Law but also Public Law and several other departments of the UK Bar have queer barristers. Mark Mason, a former Family Law Barrister claimed that there are no out queer women in the Higher Bench or above. Claire Fox, the co-chair of the Barristers Lesbian and Gay Group, said that it is “sad that barristers face these discrimination problems at the Bar in 2017.” A Bloomsbury-placed Barrister Nicholas Allen asked: “Being male, Jewish and middle-aged, would it make me a more privileged queer in the Chambers than others who have fewer privileges?”
“I was told that I should not come out in law school or at the Inn Chambers, as it would ruin my career”, says Barrister Susanna Rickard and continued that the research results made her “blood boil”. She also suggested that the UK Barristers and Chambers could use some kind of (voluntary) equality badge – which is according to the same line as Dr. Sorainen has suggested in Finland for practicing lawyers with the Attorney-in-Law Hanna Rahikka.
More info on the “Sexuality at the Bar” research results by this LINK