This February, we joined in the UK’s celebration of LGBT+ history month.

History month is an opportunity for us to reflect, and to take steps to continue to build inclusion for our people. It also enables us to look outwards, to our work with clients and with the wider legal and professional community.

This LGBT+ history month, we have focussed on:

Celebrating and raising awareness internally

We hosted a celebration of Mardi Gras (and Shrove Tuesday) with an office party, complete with pancakes and music. We were excited to appoint a second Ambassador, Joe Rowntree, for our LGBT+ network Queen Street Pride (QSP), alongside Tim Barnden. As part of our content this month, Joe shared with the firm reflections on the life of Alan Turing. Tim shared an LGBT+ History month special edition of his radio show, “Fantastic Voyage” – now a regular monthly show on Totally Wired Radio.

We continue to explore LGBT+ takes on the Purpose and Impact agenda, supporting a number of clients working on cutting edge tech projects designed to foster safety for LGBT+ folk worldwide

Our Immigration Department is assisting a growing number of personal clients with applications as partners and parents, as well as helping transgender clients with resolving identity document challenges.

Celebrating the 50-year anniversary of Switchboard

This year sees the milestone 50th anniversary of the founding of Switchboard LGBT. Bates Wells is proud to have secured charitable status for London Gay Switchboard back in 1974.This was the first time that homosexuality was recognised as a charitable class. We’ve continued to champion the LGBT+ community ever since, and we proudly act for many LGBT+ charities across the world.

Ali v Green Party of England and Wales – an impactful and significant judgment

We represented the Defendant in this decision which will be of great interest to trans people and their allies. The court decided that it is not discriminatory for a political party to remove a spokesperson on the grounds of belief (in this case, gender critical belief), provided it follows a fair procedure in doing so. Issues close to the hearts of those with gender critical beliefs remain a matter of heated debate, and in this case the court declined to direct a political party in how to conduct that debate.

History month has offered us an opportunity to renew our focus on our LGBT+ work. Upcoming this year will be work on Trans Visibility in March and April, the celebration of Pride in June, and much more.