I’ve heard the term many times in my career when people refer to me in conversations with clients or colleagues. I regularly colour my hair (currently a vibrant blue), I favour an alternative dress sense and I openly discuss being Wiccan.
As a child I was quite shy, attended state schools, and was the first in my family to go to university. I was given some excellent advice as a child: 'Act confident, even if you don’t feel it. Be yourself and eventually you’ll be ‘that person’.' This has stayed with me throughout my career, I’ve never let the expectations of others hold me back and have been determined to succeed whilst being my authentic self.
I took the traditional route to qualifying as a solicitor: law degree, legal practice course and training contract. I had a great time at the University of East Anglia; I was the secretary of the Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual Society (as it was called at the time) and the diversity & inclusion officer on the Student Union Executive.
I was lucky enough to secure my training contract at a local firm in Great Yarmouth and remained there for 12 years through qualifying and becoming a partner. I only left as my husband and I relocated to Hertfordshire to be closer to his children.
I now work at Sherrards Solicitors in St Albans and they have been supportive of my work with the LGBT+ community, sponsoring a dog show at Herts Pride twice, in 2019 and on its return in 2021, following a break for Covid-19.
I don’t remember coming out as such at any of my workplaces. I’ve always just been out. My involvement with the LGB society and students’ union has always been on my CV, so I guess if it was going to be a barrier to me being hired, I wouldn’t have known because I just wouldn’t have got the job.
It’s incredibly important to me to be able to bring my whole self to work. With colleagues I’ve freely spoken about who I’m dating and there hasn’t been much surprise about my partners’ genders. There was some surprise/curiosity when my husband and I opened our relationship and were dating the same woman for a period of time.
There have been many changes in the law since I started my training contract in 2005, not least the introduction of civil partnerships, then same sex marriages, followed eventually by opposite sex civil partnerships.
Despite all of these very positive changes, I’d like to see more support for cohabiting couples, particularly those in non-traditional relationship structures, including polyamorous relationships where people have consensual committed relationships with more than one person.
I’m a committee member of the LGBT+ lawyers’ division. As I’m in a heteronormative relationship I was once asked by a colleague why I still stick my head above the parapet and actively involve myself in LGBT+ campaigning. My answer is: because it’s important. I’ve been privileged throughout my life and career to have been out without facing discrimination, to the best of my knowledge anyway.
I know other people are not so fortunate and still experience prejudice, so I use my voice to advocate for those who aren’t comfortable doing so. I want to help to raise awareness of the issues that continue to exist in the profession, with a view to working towards true equality for all.
Kirsty Limacher is a senior solicitor in the private client team at Sherrards Solicitors and is a member of the Law Society’s LGBT+ lawyers’ division