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My Pride Story
London trainee Ollie Winters shares his Pride story

June 2022: Ollie Winters is a trainee in our London office. He's shared his #MyPrideStory with us and explains how he's planning to celebrate Pride this year.

Being out at work makes you a better professional

The privilege of being authentically yourself means that you can throw yourself completely into your work without always having to worry about looking over your shoulder. Constantly being scared that people will judge you for who you are prevents you from being able to focus on being the best that you can be both professionally and personally. Being out at work allows me to focus on what matters the most to me—pushing myself to be the best lawyer I can be.

There's no one thing that you are required to do to be an ally

The need to show empathy and understanding to others is universal, even if the struggles that many LGBTQ+ people go through make it even more appreciated by our community. Otherwise, I would recommend attending Spectrum and other Pride events—there is no requirement to be any one thing in order to attend, and they offer a great opportunity to see our community for the amazing thing it can be.

LGBTQ+ lawyers' experience varies around the world

Working at such an international firm does require you to constantly be aware that professionally, you will often interact with people from a whole range of cultural backgrounds. Whilst in many ways this is a hugely valuable part of being a lawyer, it does also create a juxtaposition between the friendly and professional environment LGBTQ+ people experience in many of our offices, with the wider challenges facing our community in many other countries, including some where White & Case is active.

This isn't to say that being LGBTQ+ need hold you back on a day-to-day basis, but the broader balancing act that it requires can present a wide range of issues for LGBTQ+ lawyers, such as which offices are practically available for secondments or to what extent it is appropriate to share aspects of your personal life with others.

Having an LGBTQ+ mentor made a difference to me

Being LGBTQ+ means you are part of a wider community which you can always rely on and turn to for support. I'm lucky enough to have worked closely with and have been mentored by several LGBTQ+ lawyers, right from when I was first considering joining the Firm. The wider community is an amazing place to network and meet new people, both in a professional capacity but also to make new friends.

Diversity in any organisation is always a sign of strength

By empowering LGBTQ+ people, we can ensure that it gets the best out of every single person who works here. Ultimately, we have an obligation to provide the best possible service to our clients—a team where people can be their authentic selves will always be stronger than a team that doesn't support each and every team member.

You can build a network through Spectrum

It presents a great opportunity to connect with people who you might otherwise not ever come into contact with. One of the best parts of this job is the opportunity it gives you to interact with a whole range of people across different geographies, professions, backgrounds—and Spectrum is no exception to that.

The battle for equality is not over

Be grateful every day for everyone that has come before you to fight for positive change. There has never been a better time than today to be an open and proud LGBTQ+ person in our profession, and that is a testament to the hard work of so many who have trodden the same path before. Take inspiration from them and make sure that you push to keep moving forward and make greater strides towards equality for all LGBTQ+ people. So many members of our community across the world still face unimaginable challenges every day—as LGBTQ+ lawyers, we're lucky enough to have the platform to drive meaningful progress to support and lift up members of our community who aren't as fortunate as us.

Pride is a great source of inspiration and storytelling

One of my favourite things about Pride is the platform it gives for others to share their stories and experiences. I love just being able to scroll through social media and have access to so many interesting articles, accounts and resources. I find it very uplifting to see LGBTQ+ media pushed to the forefront of people's consciousnesses and to be able to learn so much from LGBTQ+ people in such a short space of time.

I'll finally get to experience London Pride in 2022

Despite being a Londoner, for various reasons, I've never properly been able to experience London Pride in full. I'm very much looking forward to finally getting out there and seeing my favourite city light up (metaphorically and literally) in rainbow lights!