Chambers Pride Statement 2021
Read about how Chambers are championing the need for diversity and inclusion not only internally but also in the legal market and how Chambers plan to celebrate Pride in September.
What is Pride and why is it celebrated?
The first Gay Pride march took place on the 28th of June 1970, marking the first anniversary and commemoration of the Stonewall Uprising in 1969. These riots were a series of demonstrations that followed a police raid on the Stonewall Inn, in Greenwich Village, New York. In November 1969, gay activists proposed that an annual demonstration should be held in commemoration of these events, to be called the Christopher Street Liberation Day, and requested that all LGBT+ friendly organisations across the country hold similar demonstrations in support.
Pride has since reached many countries all over the world. It is a movement and a series of events that helps promote the equality, visibility and acceptance of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and intersex people (LGBTQI+). Marches and festivals are held each year to celebrate the LGBT+ community, while at the same time they also act as demonstrations, in the pursuit of achieving equal rights such as same-sex marriage and adoption. In 2019, the 50th anniversary of Stonewall, the world saw the largest Pride celebration yet. In 2020 however, all celebrations had to be cancelled due to social distancing measures following the pandemic.
The impact of the global pandemic on the LGBT+ community
The pandemic in many ways amplified the vulnerabilities of minority communities. OutRight Action International warned the LGBT+ community that it would probably be disproportionately affected, particularly when it came to individuals living in countries where discrimination against same-sex relations and transgender identities take place. Moreover, due to lockdown, people didn’t have access to safe spaces, and on many occasions they were denied state aid. There has been an increase in mental health issues as reported by The Guardian newspaper and also individuals’ physical health has been severely affected as many wouldn’t have access to antiretroviral medication for example, according to the World Health Organization.
How COVID-19 affected Pride celebrations
Moreover, the sense of isolation was heightened as LGBT+ individuals were cut off from their chosen families and communities. For a second year Covid-19 has unfortunately meant the annual celebrations are cancelled. The hope that these would be resumed in September in a safer environment turned to despair when Christopher Joell-Deshields, co-Chair and Director of Pride in London, announced on the 6th of August that Pride was cancelled once again due to the updated Covid19 measures for public events as instructed by the UK Government.
Chambers D&I initiatives and LGBT+ inclusion actions
Chambers is committed to fostering and promoting an inclusive professional environment for all of our employees. Diversity and Inclusion at the heart of what we do and a core value of our company’s culture. In order to promote diversity and inclusion internally and externally, we have appointed D&I experts, established D&I policies which can be viewed here, and are proud to be an equal opportunities employer.
Chambers have also launched an internal committee, INSPIRE, which is staffed by our own employees and sponsored by our senior leadership team.
The INSPIRE committee receive bi-monthly inclusive leadership training to ensure we continue to be at the forefront of furthering openness and setting an example to improve diversity and inclusion.
In terms of LGBT+ inclusion, our strand is proud to be a fierce advocate of positive action. We have hosted a series of teatime meetings in which we raise awareness of various LGBT+ issues, engage with our community and promote discussion about next steps. Another change that we have undertaken was the promotion and implementation of pronouns in our signatures, which has been an important step towards inclusivity as it takes into account peoples’ preferences and solves the problem of misgendering. We have also worked together with various other strands, including the Cultural Inclusion, Mental Health & Wellbeing and Gender teams, to organise events and publish content with which we raise awareness against discrimination in all its forms and highlight the importance of intersectionality.
Chambers INSPIRE have also recorded and continue to record a series of educational podcasts in cooperation with our CSR strand, on top of publishing a lot of resources so our colleagues can educate themselves on various LGBT+ matters. To listen to the series please click here.
Our Proud Commitment to stay sharing and connected
Sadly, we have not been able to celebrate Pride in person in June or September. As our main priority is the health and safety of our colleagues, we will not be scheduling any physical events either, but we will maintain a strong online presence, so we make sure that everyone stays connected and supported. We will don the rainbow colours once again to show our support to the LGBT+ community and to stand with our colleagues and allies against discrimination in all its forms.
We recognise that we are #ProuderTogether and #StrongerTogether. We have taken serious steps towards LGBT+ inclusion, and we are committed to pursuing positive changes, to keep supporting and celebrating our community with the help of our wonderful allies, to keep working to be an inclusive employer that offers equal opportunities to all our employees. To read about these steps and more please view our FAQs page here.
Our celebrations this year will be purely internal, however we want to openly show our support for the LGBT+ community. We recognise the need to keep driving change within the legal profession and we have laid the foundations to open a D&I dialogue with our clients. We would like to invite everyone to join us in our diversity & inclusion journey, and we are open to feedback as to how we can improve further.
The Chambers team celebrate Pride
Colleagues from across the various teams at Chambers are delighted to also participate in the Pride celebrations and have shared their thoughts on what the celebrations mean to them.
'Pride is a yearly reminder that visibility is what got us here where we are today.
When everyone visualises Pride around them (their neighbours, their family, their colleagues) prejudice and stigma quickly disappear.'
Felipe Poveda, Global Head of Sales
'Pride to me is about having a framework, both internal and external, that allows you to be the best version of yourself. It’s being able to stand up, show off your true colours and feel embraced by a community that recognises and appreciates what it is that makes you, you. It’s also about encouraging people from all walks of live to share their story and, through doing so, promoting a conversation which helps us focus on what we have and common and what brings us together.
By building a body of support in society that enables everyone to feel comfortable with being seen and recognised for whatever aspect of themselves it is that they are proud of, we can empower everyone to feel more content with themselves and cause immeasurable benefits for everyone.'
James Roberts, Deputy Editor, UK
'It is an immensely shameful part of human history that gay people haven't been able to be as open as they would have liked about who they love. Everyone should have the chance to be themselves fully and be proud of who they are, including who they fall in love with. I love the fact that #pride celebrates all the colours of the LGBTQ+ flag and enables everyone to feel proud of who they are.'
Al Marsh, Insights Editor
'The first Pride I attended was in 2012, nearly a decade ago. That first march was for me the most eye-opening experience; it was the first Pride that took place in my home city, a place where LGBT+ diversity is not exactly cherished and celebrated. Shyly at first and then more boldly later, people joined the march of acceptance and celebration of their true selves. That, to me is Pride - being yourself, being able to be openly vulnerable, in love and free. It’s lifting each other up, standing together against intolerance, fighting for your rights and wearing your true colours. It’s accepting and loving the real you without ever apologising.
Pride is the coming together of a community and its allies, as a family, as one, to celebrate, understand and connect. In unity we are stronger and our voices are louder. It’s also a stark reminder that we have a long way to go in terms of acceptance and inclusion, of defeating the imposition of guilt and prejudice - and that’s where taking a stand and being as visible as possible matters. Being there means you are a hug for every person who has been rejected. A smile for everyone who feels embarrassed. A beacon for everyone who is lost. A chosen family for someone who has been ostracised from theirs.
Take a stand with the LGBT+ community this Pride and every Pride. It means the world!'
Eleftheria Mitroudi, Europe Assistant Editor, INSPIRE LGBT+ Chair
'Pride to me is belonging, friendship, love, care, respect and most importantly understanding. It is a community built on support and acceptance. It is being there for those who are prohibited from identifying as their true self. It is a reminder of what we have gone through, what we are yet to achieve and celebrating what we have done so far. It is standing together as one!
Visibility helps promote equality by raising awareness and showing the wider community (whether you are an ally or not) what we stand for. We are strong and united, and we will champion our cause and overcome any obstacles. It also evokes a sense belonging as we are supporting the same initiatives as a community and there is a foundation of love and commonality!'
Wahida Ahmed, Senior Research Analyst UK/USA, INSPIRE LGBT+ Ambassador
'Pride to me is a time to recognise and celebrate how far we have come and everything we have gone through in our efforts to create a more equal and diverse world. It is also the celebration of being able to be 100% yourself and knowing that you will be accepted. By celebrating our individuality and our differences we encourage diversity, and remind those that are struggling to embrace their own differences that they are valuable and accepted. Pride celebrations our so important because they keep this message alive.'
Eleanor Crundwell, UK Bar Deputy Editor
'Pride to me is the power of unity and love. It’s coming together and building a community based on understanding, respect and belonging, allowing people to be their true selves without fear of judgement or discrimination. Pride means supporting those who need it most, and celebrating what makes us unique. By being out and visible, or supporting as an ally, we can show that love can never be erased, and bring about the change we want to see in the world.'
Katie Read, Deputy Editor UK, INSPIRE CSR Chair
'Pride for me is a continuous fight, a struggle for justice that's fought with rainbows and glitter, rather than guns. A statement of pride for being who you are and being proud of it, the representation of one's soul. I am proud and grateful to celebrate together with so many people around the world the wonderfulness of being oneself and being free. Even during covid times, although it's not how we expected it to be, it is essential to continue to fight through the celebration of pride.'
Livia Cuciurean, Europe Assistant Editor, INSPIRE Gender Chair
'Pride means standing in solidarity with the LGBT+ community, speaking up for equal rights and treatment, and working against discrimination in all forms. It means centring the voices and experiences of the LGBT+ community in the discourse, working with and supporting LGBT+ people to create positive action. Visibility and allyship is important because it broadens scope of the conversation, growing the support network and removing stigma for future generations.'
Luke Vincett, D&I Manager
'To me, Pride is a celebration of coming together and of true bravery. The world is constantly changing and unfortunately not always in a positive way, and Pride is a celebration of how far we have come and what can still be achieved. It is a reminder of the importance of community, of creating a space of belonging and trust, and the true beauty of accepting yourself and others for who they are. It is only through visibility that awareness can be raised and equality promoted. You are who you are, and this should be celebrated.'
Marlene Hermann, Europe Editor, INSPIRE Mental Health & Wellbeing Chair
'Pride symbolizes our humanity and the celebration of love and friendship. By promoting Pride we are promoting ourselves to be accepted, respected and loved. To me Pride is all about loving ourselves, our loved ones and the wider community. By standing united in supporting Pride we not only increase visibility but go one step further and offer our unconditional love to one another, the very essence of humanity. We are all humans and through embracing Pride, our loved ones and ourselves, together we can aim for the stars!'
Nazy Farajollah, Commercial Manager
'Pride is knowing who you are, where you've come from, the generations who have stood up bravely so that we can be our truest selves. It's about honouring the many challenges that LGBT+ people have faced over the centuries and acknowledging that there are many parts of the world where we are still persecuted. It's about not becoming complacent, not assuming that the amazing developments of recent years are here to stay forever, always moving forwards and staying alert. It's a celebration of diversity in all its forms and of our ability to be who we want and need to be, without hiding who we really are.
Inside Chambers and Partners we aim to support our colleagues in the journeys of self-discovery so many people undergo during their lives. Pride is listening and learning from others who can show us so many different ways to express sexual or gender identities. Every colour of the rainbow.
When I was a teenager in the 1980s I could never have imagined the visibility and strength of the LGBT+ community in the 21st century. That makes me truly proud.'
Matthew Taylor, Chief People Office
'Pride means that everyone belongs. It means everyone has a place in the world to be themselves and express who they are and express it with pride. It means pride for everyone in who they are and what they offer to the world. It means to me a world of beauty, love and belonging where everyone has a place and lives their live to the fullest without fear. Visibility means that people’s stories are told, not just the stories everyone knows but stories that change the narrative and challenge the status quo.
Stories that express the diversity of the world. It means everyone can find stories they can see themselves, that represents them. It means learning about new experiences and new viewpoints and seeing how truly diverse the world is. Visibility and representation are vital tools to promote equality and belonging for everyone in the world. Everyone deserves to see themselves reflected in the world around them.'
Th. Anna Ingimundardottir – Senior Research Analyst – Europe Team, INSPIRE Age & Disability Chair