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Lui honoured for work with LGBQT community; LEGAL.

Byline: JONATHON MANNING jonathon.manning@trinitymirror.com

ANORTH East lawyer has won a top award after setting up a specialist unit to provide legal advice for the LGBQT community.

Ben Hoare Bell Solicitors launched its LGBQ and T/non-binary (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Queer and Transgender) departments in October, after realising there was a lack of firms in the region providing advice to the local community.

The firm has been praised for that work at the North East LGBT+ Awards, when solicitor Lui Asquith received the Ally of the Year award.

Ms Asquith received the award for the work she has carried out helping to set up Ben Hoare Bell's new departments, as well as for her work as an activist for the LGBQT community.

Explaining the need for the departments, Ms Asquith said: "There is still definitely a need for a safe space for people within the LGBQT community where they can access legal services without any anxiety around coming out. Not everyone feels anxiety when coming out anymore but certain people still do.

"There are issues to do with change of name in relation to transgender people, legal gender recognition advice in relation to transgender people. For LGBQT people, there are issues around family creating. How do you create a family if you can't do it by the heteronormative conventional method? So that work focuses on adoption and surrocacy."

The new departments also handle cases involving bespoke domestic violence issues that affect the LGBQT community. The firm also carries work relating to contact procedures relating to transgender children.

Along side her work as a lawyer, Ms Asquith is vice-chair of Amnesty International's LGBTI nework committee. She also founded the regional arm of the Lesbian and Gay Lawyers Association, which celebrates and supports diversity in the legal profession.

CAPTION(S):

Ben Hoare Bell solicitor Lui Asquith, right, shows off her award with family partner Cris McCurley

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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Date:May 26, 2017
Words:317
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