LGBTQ+ History Month
As we come to the end of LGBTQ+ History Month, which is celebrated each February in the UK, MJLD is reflecting on its significance. The month is an opportunity to observe lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender history as well as the history of the gay rights and related civil rights movements. It is aimed to raise awareness of and tackle prejudice against the LGBTQ+ community, whilst marking its achievement and diversity.
The initiative was founded in the UK in 2005 by the charity ‘Schools OUT UK’, following the abolition of Section 28 of the Local Government Act 1988. The legislation states that a local authority shall not “intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” or “promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship.”
We are 20 years on from the abolition of Section 28 in 2003. Therefore, we must ask how society has changed. LGBTQ+ lives and identities are spoken about more than ever before in schools. Furthermore, society has begun to embrace the community as valued and included, allowing more liberty to discover who they are. However, there is a still long way to go.
Firms celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month
MSB Solicitors welcomed Aubrey Maasdorp and Sophie Cook from ‘Diverse Matters’ to give staff training on LGBTQ+ Awareness. The objective of the training was to discuss the barriers faced by the LGBTQ+ community, consider how language has developed and how we can use the correct terminology in our professional and personal lives. The training included the importance of the use of pronouns, consideration of issues around intersectionality and heteronormative assumptions. The feedback wa
s very positive, attendees finding the day very engaging and informative. The organisation offers a
range of training courses to support organisations address inclusion in the workplace and service delivery.
The organisation ‘The QSA Space’, who support th
e LGBTQ+ community with South Asian heritage, have been working with In House Legal Solutions (IHLS). IHLS have also been working with the ‘QPOCPROJECT’, an organisation made of and for queer people of colour. Staff at the firm took part in a virtual Q&A session with members of QPOC interested in a career in law. Following on from this, the firm hosted an open day and invited members to their office to partake in a pathways into law session. Many employees have now been encouraged to put their pronouns on their emails to create a more inclusive workspace.
How to be an ally
There are numerous ways to individually present as an ally, one of the most straightforward being the use of pronouns on email signatures. This could help and encourage others who may not currently have the confidence to state who they are. Furthermore, employers may want to present as an ally by, for example, showing staff they are receptive and by implementing gender neutral toilets.