Inclusion and Intersectionality

  • 30/09/2020

The theme for the ED&I Committee’s October article is INCLUSION and INTERSECTIONALITY.  October sees  • the tail end of National Inclusion Week • Black History Month • National Hate Crime Awareness Week • National Coming Out Day.


For those unfamiliar with the term, intersectionality is the interconnected nature of social categorisations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group. For example, if we accept that individually, women face more challenges than men; and LGBT+ people face more challenges than straight people, the principle is that a gay woman would find her progression through the world even more challenging. Including factors such as race and disability only add to the challenge.

We are lucky to have Martin Pong who has kindly drafted a piece for us about Intersectionality


Members of the ED&I committee have profiled a few historically important individuals. They were all, in their own way, important to the development of civil rights around the world.

We have profiles on

Martha P Johnson – a black trans woman who is widely credited as having thrown the first“object”that kick-started the Stonewall Riotsin 1969 and catapulted the gay rights movement into the spotlight. Her profile is here2.

Bayard Rustin – Bayard was the little-known key member of Martin Luther King Junior’s civil rights movement who was sidelined for being gay.

Edwin Cameron   – a human rights lawyer who spoke out about the denialist HIV policies of Mandela’ssuccessor, President Mbeki and who became a justice of the Constitutional Court in South Africa.

Herb Selwyn – an incredible straight ally, Herb was a lawyer in the US who spoke out and fought for the rights of gay people in the US for decades.

Claudia Jones and Rhaune Laslett – two extraordinary individual from the late 1950’s and early 1960’s who were instrumental in establishing an annual street party celebrating Caribbean culture which is now the larges street festival in Europe – the Notting Hill Carnival.


Having learned of the overt racism experienced by a Manchester-based lawyer at the hands of a client, and of the total failure of that firm to take effective action, we were inspired to help firms come up with the own policy on managing unreasonable behavior towards staff.  Please click Managing Unreasonable Behaviour Towards Staff to find out what a summary of what a policy might look like.

UNLEARNING RACISM – Review In August I attended a powerful webinar delivered by the Unlearning Racism Collective in association with the Racial Justice Network. I cannot recommend it highly enough for white people who want to become effective allies of people of colour.  Click on this link to see the review of the  Unlearning Racism webinar and a link to be notified of future events.


To celebrate National Coming Out Day, we are hosting, in conjunction with MTSG and MYSG a Chatham House Rule panel event on “ComingOut and BeingOut in your Legal Career”which is kindly sponsored by Brabners. Hiding a significant part of your identity at work requires huge amounts of personal energy and research has shown that people who are not out at work about their sexuality or gender identity are up to 30% less productive than their non-closeted colleagues. You owe it to yourself and to your career to be“out”about who you truly are. I will chair the event and we have some exciting contributors who will share their own experiences of coming out and being out at work in the legal profession. The webinar will take place at 1pm on 12 October and details will come out soon on how to sign up.

Steven Appleton, Chair,  Manchester Law Society ED&I Committee