I grew up in Northern Ireland during the Troubles. Disdain for LGBT+ people was a rare point of common ground in a society divided on sectarian lines. It was not until the Bar Vocational Course that I came out.
In 2004, I started pupillage at a commercial set which had, so far as I knew, no openly gay members. A Chambers dinner was held to which pupils and their partners were invited. With some trepidation, I mentioned that my boyfriend would come. The reaction was welcoming and inclusive. Some years later, when we had our civil partnership ceremony, we were delighted to have members of Chambers and clerks among our guests.
Today, Chambers has a number of proudly LGBT+ individuals and allies. With the work that FreeBar and others are doing, I hope that my own overwhelmingly positive experience will be true for every LGBT+ person at the Bar.