Barristers fall out over Middle Temple LGBTQ+ qualifying session

Big trans rights row divides the bar

Middle Temple

A row has damaged out amongst barristers on Twitter over the inclusion of a gender essential lawyer at an LGBTQ+ panel dialogue scheduled to happen this night at Middle Temple.

An open letter from greater than 100 members of the Inn, different barristers and legislation college students referred to as for the inaugural Middle Temple LGBTQ+ discussion board debate, ‘The fight to ban gay conversion therapy’, to be postponed after a row broke out over the speaker line-up.

Nancy Kelley, chief govt of Stonewall, the marketing campaign organisation that helps gender identification views, was set to be the visitor speaker on the occasion, which counts as a qualifying session for college kids learning to change into barristers. Kelley was scheduled to be joined by Kieran Aldred, Stonewall’s head of coverage, and Robin Allen QC of Cloisters chambers.

However final Thursday, days earlier than the occasion, the dialogue matter was modified to ‘Banning Conversion Practices: The Path to Good Law’, with Aldred changed by Jayne Ozanne, chair of the Ban Conversion Remedy Coalition, and Naomi Cunningham, a barrister at Outer Temple Chambers and chair of Intercourse Issues, the marketing campaign group that lobbies for readability on intercourse in legislation and tradition.

The attorneys behind the open letter take difficulty with Cunningham’s inclusion on the panel and yesterday accused the Inn and occasion organisers of bowing to strain to incorporate audio system “with a ‘critical’ perspective on trans inclusion”.

The open letter states: “LGBTQ+ organisers must be free to host discussion events made up of panellists who share a commitment to LGBTQ+ equality, including equality for trans people. They should not come under any pressure to include anti-trans speakers in their events.”

They check with weblog posts written by Cunningham, one through which she states she makes use of the expressions “trans-identifying male” or “trans-identifying man” as a substitute of “trans woman”, and one other through which she declines to make use of a trans lady’s pronouns, “referring to her as a ‘man’ repeatedly and using the pronouns ‘he’ throughout”.

“Someone who uses demeaning and insulting language about trans women should have no place at a Qualifying Session organised for Middle Temple students,” the group writes.

The open letter continues:

“The decision sends a damaging message to trans members and prospective members of the Inn that their inclusion is not something they can take for granted but is ‘up for debate’, even at events that were originally organised to welcome them specifically. This last-minute change has turned an event that was meant to be a celebration of inclusion into a debate between those who support and oppose trans rights.”

The group make a collection of calls for on the finish of the letter, together with that the organisers postpone the occasion, apologise and refund those that now not want to attend the occasion.

Cunningham instructed us that the occasion:

“Bodes ill for the profession if aspiring barristers feel entitled to be shielded from even hearing views with which they disagree at an event provided for their education”.

Middle Temple confirmed to Authorized Cheek that the occasion can be going forward this night as marketed, stressing the topic of the dialogue is “serious and important”.

Barristers subsequently clashed on social media after the letter was shared by Twitter account, ‘LGBTQ+ Solidarity at the Bar’.

“This is pretty shameful,” tweeted Edward Levey QC of Fountain Court docket Chambers. “If 100+ members of the bar wish to publicly attack another member of the bar on social media, they should have the backbone and integrity to do so openly, rather than hiding behind the veil of anonymity.”

Simon Myerson QC of St Pauls Chambers added: “What have we become? A public letter aimed at one woman who shouldn’t be allowed to speak. Not sent privately. We shouldn’t, surely, behave in such a way.”

Elsewhere, Backyard Court docket Chambers pupil barrister Isaac Ricca-Richardson tweeted: “Love and solidarity to all trans barristers [and] aspiring barristers. I’m sorry that some people think being a barrister means wanting to debate your existence 100% of the time.”

Mary-Rachel McCabe, junior barrister at Doughty Road Chambers, additionally confirmed solidarity with the signatories to the letter. She tweeted:

A spokesperson for Middle Temple instructed Authorized Cheek:

“The occasion can be going forward. The Inn is absolutely supportive of the LGBTQ+ Discussion board. It’s their occasion, designed and delivered by them, the contents of which the Inn wouldn’t search to censor or restrict. It has not sought to dictate who ought to or shouldn’t be on the panel for the dialogue, entitled ‘Banning Conversion Practices: The Path to Good Law’.

“The topic of the panel dialogue is severe and vital, and pertains to the present authorities session to assist the event of banning conversion remedy. The dialogue is to be chaired by a really senior practitioner, Robin Allen QC, who was on the Ozanne Basis’s working social gathering led by Baroness Kennedy, and it was very largely as a result of work of Jayne Ozanne (one other panel member) that the Queen’s speech contained a proposal for such laws. The working social gathering included a really broad vary of pursuits.

“As an Inn we are not in favour of ‘de-platforming’ people because they have different views, with which some people disagree. The Inn believes in freedom of speech and expression. It should be a place where discussion of different views can take place in an atmosphere of mutual respect. The panel has increased since the event was first advertised, to ensure that a wider range of views were represented.”

The spokesperson stated that the Middle Temple LGBTQ+ Discussion board has responded to the petitioners and can refund the tickets of those that now not want to attend the occasion. Nevertheless, there have been no refund requests as of but.

Authorized Cheek was unable to achieve the particular person or individuals behind the ‘LGBTQ+ Solidarity at the Bar’ account for remark.



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