The most daunting thing I’ve ever done is come out. I was at a single sex school where the only insult other than “gay” was a reference to “your mum”. Homosexuality was the butt of every joke and there wasn’t a single gay role model to challenge that. The prospect of openly admitting to people that I was homosexual was so intimidating that most of the time it seemed like it just wasn’t worth it – couldn’t I just stay in the closet forever?
Yes, I came out at school, but that wasn’t the end of it. I also came out at university, at work, at home, and I come out again every time I get to know a new person. It became easier and, with the support of allies, I found that I enjoyed the freedom and felt empowered by being honest about who I am. Feeling comfortable being myself at work is very important to me, and I think everyone should have that freedom.
Whether or not a person wants to come out is a personal decision. Being openly LGBT* should not be imposed upon anyone, but it should always be an option that is available, and it shouldn’t carry with it a risk of prejudice or exclusion.
Thankfully, my experience of coming out at Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner was a really good one, and throughout my time here as a Trainee Solicitor and then Associate I have consistently been reminded that I can truly be myself. The whole office turns rainbow for key dates like Pride, and I know that I am not just accepted but celebrated.
Events like DiversCity are a great way for students to find out more about firms like BCLP which are inclusive and want to recruit people from all walks of life. You will have the opportunity to hear first-hand advice, gain insights into the recruitment process and begin to build a network of LGBT* lawyers. I hope to see you there!
Jamie Sherman, BCLP Associate
DiversCity in Law will take place on 26 November at Herbert Smith Freehills London offices. To sign up, visit the DiversCity website at https://diverscityinlaw.net/.