S. Chelvan

‘As a black gay man, living with a hearing impairment, I understand the issues surrounding civil liberties’ – this sentence, encased within my 1998 pupillage applications, made clear my rejection of conformity and invisibility. As a black man (racial political identity) there was no way I ‘could be’ invisible, so why should my sexual identity, or my disability, be hidden?  Driven by a need to empower myself, let alone others, my journey to the Bar has been as an advocate and an activist.

For the past 20 years, my practice has been at the forefront of driving legal, academic and policy change at both a national and international level. I celebrate the fact that as an ‘out queer activist lawyer’ I am part of a profession where I am counted on the basis of merit, not margin.  My USP now? – ‘To be the mouthpiece for those who know the words but have no voice’ – to be an advocate.

Photograph by @chrisjepson