Government announces Lasting Power of Attorney “revamp”
In February this year, I attended a virtual talk held by the InterLaw Diversity Forum for LGBT+ History Month. The speakers featured individuals working in the legal sector and each discussed their experience of coming out as trans or non-binary at work. It feels an apt lesson given this year’s Pride theme: Visibility, Unity and Equality.
The contributions have stayed with me since. One spoke about transitioning while joining their law firm. Another discussed using non-binary pronouns with their colleagues and clients. They emphasised that clients want to build relationships with their solicitors and that this helped strengthen their working relationship. They also explained that, in reality, the clients care about being able to rely on their lawyers to produce good quality work for them and the speaker knew that they were a dependable, responsive, and motivated lawyer. It was brilliant to hear about how positive the experience had been.
But how easy is it? In a world which often defaults to cisgender and heterosexual, LGBTQ+ colleagues are faced with having to ‘come out’ everyday, constantly. Do our LGBTQ+ colleagues always feel that they have the right space in which to explore their gender identity or sexuality? Some of the difficulties when coming out to our clients has been explored previously in a previous blog.
The LGBTQ+ community has tended to be underrepresented in the legal sector, but according to statistics this has improved in recent years. Since 2014, LGBTQ+ equality charity Stonewall has been compiling a list of the top 20 most inclusive law firms for LGBTQ+ individuals and a top 100 list for the employers. The Law Society’s 2019 survey showed that approximately 2% of solicitors confirmed that their gender identity was different to that assigned to them at birth, compared to 1% of the general UK population. 3% of solicitors confirmed they were lesbian, gay, bisexual or another non-heterosexual orientation, compared to 2% in the general UK workforce.
These statistics may seem reassuring, but we should be wary of placing our measure of inclusivity as a sector on statistics and rankings alone. It’s important to remember that they represent real people’s lives and experiences, their hopes and anxieties about being authentic while at work.
It is important to be a supportive and visible ally at work. By doing so, it creates and emphasises that the culture in the workplace is truly inclusive and will hopefully contribute to our colleagues feeling comfortable coming out. My colleague, Moira Campbell, has previously published a blog on how employers can help to create this. By way of example, here are a few tips to put into practice:
Detransition, Baby (Torrey Peters)
The Black Flamingo (Dead Atta)
Sensible Footwear: A Girl’s Guide (Kate Charlesworth)
Wow, No Thank You (Samantha Irby)
Non-Binary Lives: An Anthology of Intersecting Identities (Jos Twist & others)
In the Dream House (Carmen Maria Machado)
Who Killed My Father (Edouard Louis)
Rainbow Milk (Paul Mendez)
Patsy (Nicole Dennis-Benn)
Fun House (Alison Bechdel)
Portrait of a Lady on Fire (Celine Sciamma)
Moonlight (Barry Jenkins)
Love, Simon (Greg Berlanti)
The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson (Victoria Cruz)
Milk (Gus van Sant)
We Were Here (David Weissman)
Paris is Burning (Jennie Livingston)
The Boys in the Band (2020, Joe Mantello or 1970, William Friedkin)
Pride (Matthew Warchus)
Disclosure (Sam Feder)
Atypical (Robia Rashid)
Pose (Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk, Steven Canals)
It’s a Sin (as well as Queer as Folk, also written by Russell T. Davies)
Gentleman Jack (Sally Wainwright)
Feel Good (Mae Martin)
Sense8 (Lana & Lilly Wachowski and J Michael Straczynski)
Phoebe Alexander joined Kingsley Napley in 2020. She is currently a trainee solicitor in the Medical Negligence and Personal Injury team.
Her previous seat was with the Private Client team, where she assisted with the administration of trusts and estates, and the drafting of Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney. Phoebe also assisted with Court of Protection matters, including the drafting of Deputyship applications.
We were recently excited and grateful to announce that Kingsley Napley was named in Stonewall’s Workplace Equality Index 2022 of Top 100 Employers List for LGBTQ+ people. While it is vital for workplaces to commit to inclusion and create a welcoming environment for their LGBTQ+ staff, the annual celebration of Trans Day of Visibility (TDoV) importantly draws attention to the critical need for more meaningful visibility in the media and beyond in order to pave the way for trans liberation in wider society.
Few would disagree with the suggestion that, in order to really understand an artwork and the full extent of its cultural resonance, one needs to know something about the artist who made it.
Our 2022 report provides an overview of our activities and initiatives across the broad spectrum of diversity. It also includes our statistics for gender, ethnicity, and disability, which reflect our aim of creating a workforce that is fully representative of UK society, at all levels of the business.
The UK Government proposals to ban conversion therapy fall short and risk criminalising gender identity counselling services.
On 29 October 2021 the Government launched a consultation on restricting conversion therapy. Although the Government proposals are a step in the right direction, it only limits conversion therapy rather than banning it outright.
When I became Senior Partner of Kingsley Napley in 2018, I made a very clear pledge to the firm – that I would make it one of my key objectives to increase diverse talent and foster a culture of inclusivity.
Marcia Longdon was recently asked about her journey into law and whether she had a story to share. Marcia initially thought that she didn't have a story. However, as the interview unfolded, the interviewer looked over the camera and said, er, are you sure? So here it is.
A question that emerges for Black people all over Britain every October is “How can I celebrate the stories of those that have come before me?” In contrast the question that naturally comes to mind for those who are not of Black origin is “If I’m not Black how do I participate in Black History?” Whilst the questions appear to be different there is a common theme – both query how people can do Black History month justice, both have a desire to adequately celebrate a rich history that means so much to so many. But rest assured you should feel comfortable and welcome to celebrate the history of another culture.
Celebrating this year’s Black History Month (BHM) with is powerful campaign, “Proud to Be”, is an apt time for us all to consider why we (should) care about Black history and culture.
When Black History Month was established in the United States, over a century ago, it was intended as a way to celebrate and give national recognition to black stories and perspectives.
At Kingsley Napley, we believe in the power of diverse and representative stories and we have found some wonderful and effective ways to share them that you might like to try too.
The visibility of the “B” in our LGBTQ+ umbrella is marked every year on 23 September. At Kingsley Napley, we are proud to have bisexual members of our LGBTQ+ and Allies Network and strive for everyone to feel like they can be themselves and bring their whole selves to work. Outside KN, and in this year alone, Robin has come out as bisexual in the new Batman comic, more awareness has been raised about bisexuality with celebrities, such as Megan Fox, Lily Cole, speaking out and there is more representation of bisexual people in mainstream shows, such as Sex Education, Brooklyn Nine-Nine.
To mark Suicide Prevention Day and raise awareness of the prevalence of deaths by suicide in the UK, Kingsley Napley is set to host a mental health panel discussion on 10 September 2021.
Trans adults with full decision-making capacity have the freedom to secure hormonal and surgical interventions to align their bodies with the physical attributes typical of the gender with which they identify (a process known as “transitioning”). However, for those who lack capacity, the involvement of others who are responsible for making decisions on their behalf is required, and the position can be complex as a result. This blog explores the approach to making decisions relating to transitioning on behalf of protected trans people, applying the best interests test and guidance from case law, and discussing the practicalities for decision-makers.
On the 28 July 2021, the Government unveiled the highly anticipated National Disability Strategy (‘the strategy’). Pledged in the Government’s 2019 manifesto, the aim is to “improve the everyday lives of disabled people”. The Prime Minister described the strategy as the most comprehensive, concerted, cross-government plan relating to disability ever. A bold claim, but is it justified?
Whilst our Muslim colleagues and friends celebrate over communal meals and prayer, it is also a time for us at Kingsley Napley to reflect on the importance of observing and respecting the cultural and religious differences of others. We are motivated to make Kingsley Napley a place which is not only diverse, but also inclusive, where all our people feel able to bring their true selves to work.
When I told some of my friends I was writing a piece about drag activism, their reaction was almost unanimous…
"Oh, but, is there much to say?"
That's when I realised that drag queens, for many, are more synonymous with big hair and lip-syncing pop hits rather than political consciousness and activism. You can certainly understand the reason for this - we have been totally spoiled in recent years with the explosion of Ru Paul’s Drag Race around the world - the make-up, talents and confidence being a feast for the eyes (and the soul). But we cannot minimise the political importance of Mama Ru’s creation. Who could forget numbers such as “Shady Politics”; the discussions of gay conversion therapy while applying make-up; and Bob the Drag Queen describing his arrest during a 2011 marriage equality protest? Not to mention Nancy Pelosi sashaying into the All Stars season…
Coming out is an extremely personal journey and will be unique to each person. It takes a lot of courage to come out and a person may have to repeatedly do this in their personal and professional lives. Statistics show that 46% of people who identify as lesbian, gay and bisexual and 47% of people who identify as trans feel comfortable to discuss their orientation or gender identity.
How can you put the spotlight on intersectionality to remind others that, even within the LGBTQ+ community, not everyone is treated equal?
Are you proud of who you are, your journey and the person that you’ve become? Do you truly wear your heart on your sleeve? For some, being open and honest about who we are (which includes our gender identity or sexuality) does not come easily and can be extremely hard. It can be even tougher at work, and for those that hide their true self, the energy expenditure is endless. That survival cost of energy makes you less productive, or even worse still, it has a detrimental impact on your mental and physical health.
I am a trans woman who has recently embarked on her transition. Having only taken my first steps on this journey, I am acutely aware when writing this that I have much to learn about myself, about being trans, and about the diverse LGBTQ+ family that I now find myself part of. However, there is one theme that I feel is important to discuss as we celebrate Pride in 2021.
Following on from my colleague Sameena Munir’s blog ‘’pray the gay away: cull conversion therapy worldwide’’, the issue of gay conversion therapy dominates contemporary conversations surrounding LGBT politics and legislation in the UK, but the Government has failed to deliver on its promise to ban it.
For two weeks during Pride month, Kingsley Napley are publishing a series of blogs to celebrate Pride and highlight LGBTQ+ issues from home and abroad.
It’s been 9 years since R&B artist Frank Ocean headed off rumours about his particular pronoun usage in the album Channel Orange by posting on Tumblr that his first love had been a man. Since then, the momentum for the openness and success of queer artists has continued to gather pace, and LGBTQ+ representation in the arts and mainstream media is as wide as it has ever been. This rise has however raised important questions about pigeonholing queer artists, and perhaps most interestingly whether they must always shoulder the responsibility of ‘pushing the agenda’.
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