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Trans Day of Visibility 2021

Trans Day of Visibility 2021

By Teddy Darling

Workplace Young Lawyers Young Persons 

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The International Trans Day of Visibility was on 31 March. Life as a trans or gender diverse (TGD) lawyer is as varied as gender identity, no two experiences are alike.

For my first TDOV as a practising lawyer, I caught up with two TGD people in law to discover their positive stories of affirmation and the cultural change they’re still waiting for.

Blog-image-one.jpgBrooke Collins (she/they)

Law student and paralegal at LGBTIQ Legal Service & Roberta Perkins Law Project

Working at a community legal centre (CLC) with an LGBTIQ focus has meant that my lived experience as a transgender woman is understood in the workplace. When I faced certain physical and mental challenges, my CLC let me work flexible hours and step away from certain situations and clients as needed.  Being not only heard, but actively accommodated makes me feel seen by my workplace in the fullest sense.

 

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Lee Carnie (they/them)

Executive Director of Advocacy at The Foundation for Young Australians 

When I’ve felt seen at work, I’ve felt like I can dress and feel fierce in ways that don’t match mainstream gender norms and ask people to use my they/them pronouns, without worrying how it could damage my career opportunities or be seen as less professional by other lawyers.

I’ve felt safe to talk about my life plans with my partner Jess and the perks and tensions around moving through the world as a multiracial person, without having to self-censor around the office. These simple signs tell me that the people I work long hours with every week see me for who I am and have my back.
 

What cultural change would you like to see in the legal profession?

BROOKE: A shift away from elitism, and unrealistic and unattainable academic performance. People with a lived experience of marginalisation can struggle with formal education for a variety of reasons, but can develop communication, community service, resilience and empathy instead. These can be just as (if not more) advantageous in legal work than high distinctions.

LEE: I want the legal profession to take lawyers’ mental health and wellbeing seriously by fixing the systemic causes. Mindfulness and gratitude journalling isn’t enough to counteract the structural drivers of stress, burnout and anxiety built into so many aspects of lawyering, such as billable hours, unsustainable workloads, archaic legal processes and vicarious trauma from difficult cases.

 

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Teddy Darling (they/them) is a non-binary and neurodiverse lawyer working at a boutique commercial litigation firm in Melbourne CBD and a contributor to the Young Lawyers blog. Since 2016, they have been active in the trans and queer community sectors and are currently a finalist in the Victorian Young Achievers Awards 2021 for their community service and social impact.

 

 


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