To me, Pride Month is about fostering a sense of belonging for everyone. For as long as there have been lawyers in America, the image of a lawyer has been one particular type of person. In many ways, this has made accessible legal representation impossible for many populations. It’s often said that people choose their lawyers like they choose their dogs: to look – or act – similarly to them. However, it is only possible for all people to find like-minded legal counsel if there is access to a diverse population of attorneys. We need to continue introducing heterogeneity into the previously homogenous legal world.
I’m lucky to say that I am proud to be a queer female attorney in Denver. I owe the ability to carry these identities out in the open to those who endeavored to shake off the yoke of societal expectations, such as trans women of color Marsha P. Johnson, Sylvia Rivera, and countless other LGBTQ+ individuals who have worked to bring society to its current (imperfect) acceptance of our community.
Of course, there is room for improvement. It is wonderful to see companies, businesses, and law firms join in the Pride celebration during June. It is even better to see LGBTQ+ people truly supported within those spaces throughout the year. This requires work from both those who identify along the LGBTQ+ spectrum and their colleagues and allies alike.
While big changes are necessary to ensure a true sense of belonging, those big changes can originate and develop momentum from seemingly insignificant, everyday interactions. Something as small as not assuming the gender of a coworker’s partner can open the door to a meaningful connection for an LGBTQ+ coworker and help them develop the sense of belonging we all crave.