LGBT+ network

Aims
Launched in January 2020, the MA’s LGBT+ network aims to:

  • Create an inclusive environment within the MA, where LGBT+ members feel welcomed
  • Provide opportunities for LGBT+ magistrates to network with their peers across England and Wales
  • Generate discourse around and work with the MA HQ to address the issues affecting, and advocate on the behalf of the MA’s LGBT+ magistrates and other LGBT+ court users
  • Advise, inform, and work with MA HQ on the creation of routes to the recruitment and fair representation of LGBT+ magistrates.


Governance
Supported by the MA staff team, the network is organised and run by MA members using an informal, collective model. We do not have a chair or deputies. Instead, all actions and planned activities are discussed at bi-monthly meetings, with network members volunteering to take on the specific responsibilities that interest them and are achievable alongside their other commitments.

Tom Quarton-Manuel JP is the network’s coordinator. He acts as the main point of contact for MA headquarter, leads the bi-monthly meetings, and is our official spokesperson.

Activities 
In its first two and a half years of operation, the MA’s LGBT+ network:

  • Spoke to Liverpool City Region’s Pride Foundation in December 2020 and the Judicial Office in February 2021 to raise awareness of the role of the magistracy and the importance of LGBT+ representation therein.
  • Surveyed its members in June 2021 to better understand their experiences of and challenges faced while sitting on the bench. 
  • Shared their experiences of volunteering as magistrates in a blog for Volunteers’ Week in June 2021.
  • Held an inaugural conference in November 2021, which was attended by around 100 members and saw Lord Etherton (the first openly gay senior judge) and Master Victoria McCloud (the first openly trans judge) speak poignantly of their journeys to the senior judiciary against a backdrop of legislative and societal change.
  • Represented the MA in the media, featuring in the Law Society Gazette in February 2021 and appearing on BBC Radio Nottingham, Gem 106 and ITV Central News in March 2022 to encourage others to apply to be and/or support their employees to serve as magistrates and to emphasise the importance of benches reflecting the communities they serve. 
  • Contributed to increasing the visibility of LGBT+ magistrates by participating in social media campaigns for LGBT History Month (February 2022), Transgender Day of Visibility (March 2022), the International Day against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (May 2022) and Pride (June 2022).
     

In the coming few months, the network hopes to:

  • Develop an FAQ page for the MA website about inclusive court language.
  • Create a library of testimonials about what it means to members to be an LGBT+ magistrate. 


Get in touch
To find out more about or volunteer your time to the MA’s LGBT+ network, please email us. We welcome enquiries from members and non-members alike.