James Quarmby, tax partner, Thomas Eggar

Ten ways to reveal your lover: coming out the easy way

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  • what will those "straights" get up to next ? It shouldnt be allowed should it Jack!

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/leicestershire/8444134.stm

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  • The picture painted of White & Case by the anonymous poster on 6 January at 10.01am is not one that is familiar to me at all, either in my capacity as the executive partner of the London office or as the Executive Committee member with global responsibilities for people. Nor is it, having spoken to my fellow partner, Elaine Johnston, who is our global diversity partner, an accurate description of our Firm globally either.

    We have a well-established LGBT network at the Firm, that runs a range of initiatives to support our people. As a Firm, we are committed to and supportive of the diversity - in all its forms - of our workforce and we will remain so.

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  • Ah, a good old-fashioned spirited debate.
    Mr Vance is entitled to his views, and I for one would defend his right to express an opinion; however, I think he needs to acknowledge that while his personal experience may bear out what he is saying, it is a generalisation, and, further, that there is a substantial proportion (i'd say the majority in fact) of the gay population which keeps itself to itself and has habits - sexual and chemical - equally as ordinary and unremarkable as the majority of straight people.
    The more worrying to me than this kind of blind prejudice is the Forget-About-It thread, the kind of people who - if pressed - complain that minorities are always 'shoving it down people's throats' and encourage us to just stop having an Agenda and be ourselves. People are people etc.
    There speaks someone who has never had to deal with discrimination red in tooth-and-claw. The great problem, especially if you are gay, is that you just have no idea where discrimination is going to come from, whether it be a bottle thrown at you or a catty remark at work.
    I recall one prominent gay figure remarking to me that he didn't see himself as gay while he was at work, 'just a regular guy'. Gay, for him, was something he did in his private life.
    That's a fine little fantasy, but discrimination doesn't depend on when you are and aren't deciding to be gay. The knowledge that you ARE gay is enough for someone to have a go at you, and it doesn't matter how sensible or reasonable you are or how much you keep your head down, it's not in your control. Gay isn't something you can turn off and on, any more than being black or disabled.
    People should just be how they are. If that means mad and camp or as boring as an Actuary's Christmas Party, it is just them.
    Wanting people to be other than they are in order to conform to your view of how the world should work is plain wrong. It's called discrimination, people, and however you dress it up, whatever prejudice or moral code or sweeping generalisations you use to justify your bad behaviour, it's still fundamentally inhuman.

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  • I wonder if Jack knows how many of his hetrosexual friends also like porn, take drugs and have anonymous sexual encounters - undoubtedly many more than he realises.
    In my experience, most men like porn - gay or not. So do a lot of women as it happens, though some of us may not admit it! So long as it does not become obsessive, where's the harm?
    In my 20 years or so in law, I have come across many lawyers who regularly partake of canabis, cocaine and excessive amounts of alcohol - and in my personal experience these have been mainly hetrosexual men.
    As for one night stands, as the years go by, this behaviour is becoming far more commonplace and acceptable (unfortunately) and is most certainly not limited to homosexuals!
    Jack's comments, offensive and annoying as they may be, are simply the words of a pathetic, closed minded, blinkered individual who simply sees what he wants to see and hears what he wants to hear.
    If Jack truly believes that those few promiscuous, porn addicted, drug taking gay "friends" he has had are an accurate representation of all homosexual men then nothing anyone says to him here will change his views.
    What a prize plant pot he is!

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  • I am surprised that the Lawyer has chosen to publish this article. I presume it filled some pages which were lacking given the recent Christmas and New Year break. It has done little to help those who are still uncertain whether coming out will hinder their careers and certainly hasn’t encouraged anyone to come out as a result.

    In my experience and having worked in a high street, medium and large national firm, if you are a good lawyer, professional and courteous whether you are gay or straight, black or white etc makes very little difference to how you are treated. That is the point. There are no rules for coming out in your work or in your private life which suit all.

    Equally, this is not the forum to offer a do’s and don’ts guide how you live your professional or private life. I feel I must confess my enjoyment of musical theatre (shock horror), which clearly goes against Mr Quarmby’s advice. However, I know a shared passion can improve client relations – whether that be football, racing or more artistic activities.

    I note Mr Vance is more concerned with an individual’s private life than their capabilities as a lawyer. I note that he has already had a generous invitation from Steven Cunliffe to set him straight (pun intended). I am also pleased to hear about the LGBT groups which are around the country to support their peers. This is also true in Yorkshire where the White Collar Club has been revived and open to all professions. Mr Vance will be interested to see these are networking communities in respectable establishments, not sordid dens of drugs and iniquity.

    All of this reminds me of a story some months ago (http://www.thisislocallondon.co.uk/news/4479547.Senior_lawyer_in__homophobic__email_row/) which brought to light the homophobia which still exists in the profession. Clearly there is a need for debate on this issue – but if I was looking for an advocate I would probably leave Mr Quarmby to one side.

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  • Kevin 4.18 - I think its a bit unfair to criticise Mr Quarmby - his article might have been a bit too light hearted but he had the balls (dont get excited Jack Valance I dont spend every waking moment thinking about sex with strangers or their genitalia) to write it and get it published. He should be congratulated for that and also for stimulating the debate we are now having. I also think he has done us all a service by allowing Jack Valance to spout his vicious and ignorant views illustrating the problems that we all still face both within the profession and outside - however deeply depressing that may be.

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  • What my brother Jack Vance said is hilarious! He always was the funny one. Likening homosexuality to alcoholism really made me smile. And suggesting it is addictive also suggests that he dare not try it incase he himself becomes addicted and has to start taking it regularly.

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  • In response to the smug Mr Poulter, I think if I were looking for a lawyer capable of analysing all the available data and coming to a logical conclusion, I'd probably leave you to one side.
    Your contention: "In my experience and having worked in a high street, medium and large national firm, if you are a good lawyer, professional and courteous whether you are gay or straight, black or white etc makes very little difference to how you are treated."
    ...is based entirely - as you say - on your *personal* experience and is therefore of no relevance as to the discussion: whether the profession is discriminatory or not.
    That posters to this very thread have reported specific instances of discrimination (and I am sure other posters - as I do - have very many more specific instances they can quote) is evidence that your analysis is flawed.
    The FACT is that people ARE treated differently because they are gay or black or in some other minority (or even majority - talk to some female assistants some time...).
    Your personal experience may be all very well for the cosy little world you live in, but in extrapolating your views to the profession as a whole you are as bad as Mr Vance.
    Mr Quarmby's light-hearted piece was intended to stimulate debate, which indeed it has done, and, in another startling assumption, you cannot know whether it has done 'little to help' and most certainly cannot state that it has not encouraged anyone to come out or not (you might opine that it won't, but you cannot say that as a statement of fact - it simply isn't true)
    To cast aspersions as to Mr Quarmby's fitness as an advocate, especially in light of your own failings in simple logic and wild assumptions and generalisations does you no favours.
    And why shouldn't the Lawyer publish this kind of article? Where else should it appear?

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  • FB | 7-Jan-2010 3:28 pm
    I am not sure whether or not your comments were inspired by my earlier remark, but in the interests of a good old-fashioned spirited debate, may I ask why sexuality has to be such a major feature of day-to-day interactions? I and most gays/lesbians I have discussed this with would agree with your "prominent gay figure" who said that "Gay, for him, was something he did in his private life. "
    Surely we would all like to be judged on our intelligence, personality, demeanour etc, rather than on some overtly advertised sexual proclivity? Is that not preferable? Does it not reduce the person who makes an issue of their sexuality (whatever that may be) a bit of a bore? As an example, if you were in a bar with an acquaintance whose sexual preferences were different to your own and who couldn't stop leering at and remarking on the attractiveness of certain other patrons, would you want to buy the next round?
    I agree that there are those who are rabidly prejudiced against gays and/or other groups, but I think all would concur that their numbers are decreasing. You don't speed that decrease up by pointing out and harping on areas of difference.
    I think the way to lead to peaceful lives is just to get on with it in a quiet and as unassuming a way as possible. No-one should care whether my partner is Inuit, Aboriginal, blonde, ginger, Hassidic or Sikh. I hope you can agree that their gender does not need to be shouted from the rooftops.
    Unless, of course, you do not want to be judged on your intelligence, personality, demeanour etc? Do you prefer your sexuality (or race, religion etc) to be your "calling-card"? Is that because if a person you meet doesn't like you / is rude to you / doesn't help you with your shopping / doesn't offer you the job you were after, you can tell yourself "It isn't because I had a bad day / am dull / just couldn't convince them. No, it's because I am from X sector of society, so their rejection of me is their fault. Such vicious bigots out there...."

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  • Oh heck. I don't know if any of my colleagues are gay or not. I'm kind of too busy doing the work to concern myself with anybody else's sexuality. Wonder would I have noticed if they'd been so gay they were spaced out? Or maybe it's none of my business? What about the ones who were spaced out from working too hard? Did they turn gay? Did I miss it? Have I? Better ask the missus.
    A good lawyer's a good lawyer. End of. Anybody who judges on any other basis deserves to fail. Which they will.

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