More rainbows, but also more hate crime: why Pride is still so important in 2019
Germany recently declared it will make it illegal for people to practise conversion therapy, should the UK do the same?
Whilst Pride is a time to celebrate, not everyone feels able to do so. There are people across the world, including in the UK, going through conversion therapy also known as reparative treatment. The aim is to ‘cure’ someone of homosexuality and ‘make them straight’ as being gay is seen as an ‘illness’. People are told to ‘pray the gay away’. This is shocking, but sadly still happening. Positively some countries, most recently Germany, will ban this treatment, but it is clear that further work needs to take place.
Unfortunately there is still stigma attached to being gay in some communities. This can lead to individuals feeling ashamed and guilty about their sexuality and unable to live openly. Some people voluntarily engage in conversion therapy whilst others are pressured into it by family members or religious advisors. Disturbingly, minors also partake in this presumably because their parents have consented on their behalf. A study by The Williams Institute reported that 16,000 minors aged between 11 and 17 will receive conversion therapy from a health care professional in the US.
Conversion therapy can happen against various backdrops, such as within a religious/spiritual setting or as an offering by a qualified therapist. The therapies can range from talk therapy, aversion techniques, hypnotherapy, exorcisms and electric shock to ‘corrective rape’ in some countries. There is also a tendency to blame homosexuality on the individual being surrounded too much by the opposite sex causing them to adopt more masculine or feminine traits. They can take place once a week or even in a conversion camp for a few weeks to months to years.
There is no scientific evidence that conversion therapy can change someone’s sexuality – this is not an illness. These treatments are harmful and unethical and can cause individuals to self-hate resulting in depression, self-harm and anxiety. Some may have suicidal thoughts.
It is not illegal for a therapist to offer and undertake conversion therapy in the UK. Stonewall commissioned YouGov Plc. to carry out a survey looking at LGBTQ issues in health and social care settings; it was reported that 10% of health and care staff have witnessed colleagues “express the belief that someone can be ‘cured’ of being lesbian, gay or bisexual”.
In 2018, the UK government pledged to end conversion therapy. The Church of England has supported a ban and condemned the practice. Major health bodies, such as NHS England, the British Psychoanalytic Council and the British Psychological Society have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Conversion Therapy in the UK confirming their commitment to end the practice of conversion therapy via internal processes and education. This is an important step and will address those professionals who believe they can ‘cure’ homosexuality.
It is positive to see that some countries, most recently Germany, will ban this treatment, but it is clear that further work needs to take place. 18 states in the US have also banned conversion therapy.
Whilst the UK is addressing professionals who offer conversion therapy, there is still an issue of some religious and cultural advisors performing this. Tackling this at a grassroots level will take more time, but it is hoped that this will change with greater awareness of LGBTQ rights and an understanding of the real harm that conversion therapy can have on individuals.
 The Williams Institute is part of UCLA School of Law. They have an updated report Conversion Therapy and LGBT Youth published in June 2019 authored by Christy Mallory, Taylor N.T. Brown and Kerith J. Conron.
 Unhealthy Attitudes – the treatment of LGBT people within health and social care services (2015).
 California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Washington D.C., Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
In January 2020, I was fortunate enough to give birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy. As far as I know, I am the first partner at Kingsley Napley (although certainly not the first employee) who has a baby who is lucky enough to have two mums. News of my pregnancy was met with overwhelming support from my colleagues. That support continues to this very day, and my wife and I remain truly grateful for the kindness that has been shown to us. However, since falling pregnant I have learnt that not all workplaces are as supportive to same-sex parents as mine. The concept of two mums or two dads starting a family is something that some people still struggle to get their heads around. So this year, for our KN Pride blog series, I have decided to explain the questions, that speaking from my own experience, it is not helpful to say to same-sex parents.
Tomorrow, global organisations across the world are celebrating Global Pride, and I wanted to write to say how much it means to us at Kingsley Napley to celebrate Pride and to support our LGBTQ colleagues.
On sitting down to write this blog, I was a little embarrassed. When you actually take the time to think about drafting legal documents in a way that is gender neutral, it seems to me that the question isn’t why do this, but why not?
In 2012 we formed an LGBTQ* & Allies network at Kingsley Napley (KN). I’m ashamed to say that the impetus to form this network came not from within, but from Scott, a new joiner who upon his arrival was surprised, and critical (rightly so) to find that no such network existed at KN.
The UK spouse visa has been the subject of frequent criticism and has rarely been out of the news since the rules surrounding it were completely changed in 2012. This is predominantly as a result of the stringent and often exclusionary financial requirements imposed. However, when you take a look at the basic relationship requirements imposed by this route, it is exclusionary in an unexpectedly discriminatory way.
This Sunday marks International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. On this day, over 130 countries around the world draw attention to the various forms of discrimination and violence that the LGBTQ community continue to experience. It serves as a reminder each year of the work which is still needed to achieve LGBTQ equality. David Sleight, a Partner and ally, at Kingsley Napley shares his experience below.
Now is a more important time than ever to be a visible ally to LGBTQ people in the workplace. Discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation continues to take place, often with disastrous ramifications for individuals and businesses.
The current government lockdown is making everyone aware of their living arrangements. Relationships are being put under new pressures and the current emotional and financial impact of the virus may be causing additional stresses in a relationship. It is a sensible time to make sure you understand how you own your property and the implications of such ownership.
There are countless instances of LGBT+ individuals being stigmatised and discriminated against throughout history, including in criminal law. In particular, a number of sexual acts between men have historically been criminalised. This homophobic legislation was compounded by an insidious approach to investigations, which targeted men who were believed to be gay, leading to a large number of men being criminalised, with all of the consequences that a conviction brings, for behaviour that should never have been illegal in the first place.
On the eve of the new decade, 31 December 2019, the first mixed-sex couples officially entered into civil partnerships, granting them the same legal protections as in marriage.
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