As a law firm dedicated to diversity and inclusion, both within our team of professionals and in our approach to clients, our solicitors at Giles Wilson were delighted to be once again be involved with Legal Pride and Pride in London this year. We were represented by Ryan Dewar, Chantelle Bradley and Caroline Andrews at the march, who thoroughly enjoyed walking alongside fellow legal professionals for LGBT rights.
Here, Ryan shares his thoughts from the event and what the Legal Pride parade means to him:
Giles Wilson were, for the second year running, lucky enough to be able to take part in the Pride in London parade for 2017. In conjunction with The Law Society, The Bar Council and CILEx, we walked under the banner of “Legal Pride: fighting for LGBT justice”. The Pride in London ‘hashtag’ for this year was #LoveHappensHere, and everyone was keen to demonstrate that throughout the day.
This year was the biggest Pride in London that has ever been celebrated and, naturally, this meant that the day hosted one of the most fabulous and spectacular events of the year. The atmosphere from start to finish was indescribable and without any comparison.
2017 also marks 50 years since Parliament decriminalised “homosexual acts” so long as they took place in private between two consenting adults over the age of 21. For obvious reasons, the change in the law that took place in 1967 changed the lives of all those living in homosexual relationships at the time. Quite simply, those couples no longer needed to fear the possibility of criminal prosecution for doing nothing other than loving someone who, in the eyes of the law, was forbidden.
As a 26-year-old gay man, who has also spent many years studying and practising law, it comes as a bitter pill to swallow to think that the law could have actually criminalised me for being my true self, if I were to have been born just a few decades earlier than I was.
As I see it, Pride, wherever it takes place, seeks to pay respect to three things. Firstly, it pays respect to the historical struggle that the community has gone through to secure what we have now. Secondly, it celebrates the current community, and those that support it, as well as celebrating love and acceptance on a larger level. Thirdly, it acknowledges that there is much more to do, both nationally and internationally, for the LGBTQ+ community.
As we walked through Trafalgar Square as part of the Legal Pride troupe, one of the most striking things for me was the amount of young people that came out to attend Pride (many of whom had adorned themselves in rainbow-coloured face paint and glitter). Many of the them were there simply to enjoy the fantastic atmosphere of the day. However, I expect that some of them were actually there to help discover their own identity. Many of the spectators applauded the groups; but many of the members of the groups, myself included, participated in the applause back to the community because each individual has, or will have in time, their own story about how they discovered their true self.
On a final note, I also want to add my thanks to the organisers of Legal Pride and Pride in London generally, for giving myself and my colleagues a second opportunity to celebrate Pride in London as a representative of the legal profession. See you all next year!
At Giles Wilson, our legal specialists are able to provide reliable and supportive legal advice on many issues that may specifically affect the LGBTQ+ community, including specific employment issues and family law matters. If you are in need of detailed guidance for these legal issues, our local solicitors are more than happy to help you.