illustration of four silhouettes, each person in a different colour of the Pride flag

The Importance of Queer Spaces within the Legal Profession

  • June 12, 2024
  • Antoine Collins

In a world still grappling with issues of equality, it is important to create inclusive environments where diversity is freely expressed, and everyone, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, can feel comfortable and valued. Unfortunately, the legal profession (which I love dearly) is not immune to the biases and prejudices that permeate our society. The importance of Queer spaces is crucial, yet often overlooked, within this sphere.

Rooted in tradition and precedent, the emergence of Queer spaces should not be dismissed as a progressive fad but should be recognized as fundamental for developing a more inclusive, equal and stronger legal profession. The establishment and recognition of Queer spaces is essential for promoting diversity, inclusivity, equality, and justice. They should not be seen as a politically correct box to check, but as fundamental for developing the added-value which different perspectives offer. They are a breeding ground for empathy and understanding, and by cultivating such spaces, we become stronger as a profession.

For members of the 2SLGBTQ+ (Two-Spirit, Lesbian, Gay, Bi-Sexual, Transgender, and Queer) community, these spaces offer more than camaraderie. They provide a sanctuary where one’s identity is not just accepted but celebrated. They are not merely symbolic; they enable us to tackle unique challenges faced by minorities in the legal field. These spaces are not just physical locations; they are part of an eco-system – both tangible and intangible – that can provide platforms where 2SLGBTQ+ individuals can find visibility and representation, advocacy, and support outside of, and within, the legal profession.

Visibility and Representation

As we all know, the legal profession can be a challenging environment for anyone, but individuals who identity as part of the 2SLGBTQ+ community often face additional layers of complexity and discrimination. Queer spaces can play an important role in protecting the mental health and well-being of Queer legal professionals, who often face higher rates of stress, discrimination, and workplace harassment. This is even more important now, when a significant growth in hate speech and violence is targeting members of the Queer community. Support networks established in these spaces can mitigate these negative experiences. Queer spaces can provide a supportive environment where Queer legal professionals can find mentorship and guidance, obtain career advice, share experiences and draw from one another's successes and failures – empowering them to reach their full potential and thrive in a largely heteronormative industry.

I believe the legal community should play a leading role in creating these spaces. It should be a natural part of our community, which is grappling everyday with the principles of fairness, empathy, and impartiality. Our Queer colleagues help challenge the heteronormative assumptions that too often pervade legal settings. We need to do more to ensure that Queer voices are heard and considered in legal discourse and decision-making. Indeed, 2SLGBTQ+ visibility and representation is crucial for the development of better, more just, laws and policies.


These spaces can also help challenge societal biases and stereotypes by providing a platform for advocacy. They can be become a powerful force for reinforcing and strengthening 2SLGBTQ+ and other minority rights. Through advocacy, educational initiatives, resource sharing, and open dialogue, we can raise awareness about broader issues of equality and justice. As we create this cultural shift, we ensure that future generations of Queer legal professionals see the law as a field in which they belong. By their very existence, Queer spaces in the legal community can help dismantle barriers to justice by improving its accessibility and responsiveness to the needs of the Queer community. This would send a powerful message: that Queer individuals and other minorities have an equal right to services and access to justice.

Community Support

Even within the Queer community itself, we can send a message to the wider world that 2SLGBTQ+ individuals are not alone in their journey towards acceptance, equality and excellence. It was not so long ago that gay men and women were subject to long-established practices of discrimination, marginalization, and prejudice. In the face of such challenges, solidarity formed a powerful tool for resilience and progress. This act of supporting one another within the Queer community is intrinsically linked to the concept of intersectionality. It recognizes that Queer individuals come from diverse backgrounds, encompassing various races, ethnicities, gender identities, abilities, and socioeconomic statuses. By acknowledging and embracing these differences, we foster inclusivity and ensure that no one is left behind.

By demonstrating the strength and resilience of our community, we can inspire others. It is easy to become complacent or insensitive. However, in supporting one another, we can help those facing discrimination by advocating for their rights alongside our own. Ultimately, the importance of Queer spaces and a supportive Queer community lies in the ability to effect change, to create a better world in which everyone is celebrated for who they are. 

I am convinced that by building unity, empathy, and understanding within Queer spaces, we can help build a future that is truly inclusive and equitable. Queer spaces in the legal profession are more than mere gathering points; they are the cornerstone of a veritable cultural revolution. They are a declaration that the law is an arena for all, a place where every individual, regardless of their identity, can find their place and purpose. By championing these spaces, we are not just advocating for the 2SLGBTQ+ community; we are upholding the very principles of justice and equality that the legal profession stands for. Let us continue to build these spaces, for in them lies the promise of a future where inclusivity is not an aspiration, but a reality.

Check out the following resources:

Pride At Work Canada

Start Proud

Black Femme Legal

Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Community – OBA

photo of author Antoine CollinsABOUT THE AUTHOR

Antoine Collins is a coordinating member for the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada with the Refugee Protection Division and a trustee with the OBA Foundation.