Brie Stevens-Hoare QC

I identify as pansexual. I have been in two long term lesbian relationships covering the last 27 years and am now very happily “civilised”.

My first female partner was a fellow member of chambers. Coming out in Chambers was challenging but not in the way you may assume. One of us had a homophobic family and the other’s family was very LGBT+ friendly. That meant one of us believed people would reject us and the other assumed most people would not. We had to literally negotiate our way through telling people. I learnt how your background and childhood messaging can form your beliefs about the views of others. Actually our coming out in Chambers and more widely is full of many, many positive stories, acceptance and support. The bad experiences were very limited, although looking back at it now there were rather too many inappropriately personal and invasive questions. It took me a while to realise I should be more guarded about how frank I was.

The important point is, to be careful of your own assumptions. Generally people will pleasantly surprise you. Places and people that do not look it can be very LGBT+ friendly. If you approach them assuming they will be negative you may find yourself apologising when you have nothing to apologies or not showing the joy that who you are really is. Equally it would really help if more chambers find ways to signal they are an accepting and supportive place.