In celebration of Pride Month 2022 we asked District Judge John Beckley, about the growth of LGBTQ+ representation in the judiciary and his hopes for the future.
How do you think the judiciary has changed its views towards people who identify as LGBTQ+?
I was appointed as a Deputy District Judge in 2015 and as a full-time judge in 2018. I have felt completely welcome as a gay judge during that time. I can’t recall any instances of LGBTQ+ discrimination. I think the views of judges regarding LGBTQ+ people, like the views of British society generally, have become more progressive and understanding of diversity.
What advice would you give someone who was LGBTQ+ and considering joining the judiciary?
It is important that judges reflect the population on behalf of whom they make legal decisions. It could be problematic if they are, or if they are perceived to be, overwhelmingly white, male, straight and cis-gendered. I would, therefore, encourage LGBTQ+ people to consider applying for a judicial appointment.
What does Pride Month 2022 mean to you?
It is a time to reflect on how far we have come, at least in this country, as an LGBTQ+ community, but also the threats we still face. I recognise that my experience is different to my trans and non-binary siblings who face far more difficult challenges in the UK. There remain large parts of the world where LGBTQ+ people face persecution, discrimination and even death; that needs to be remembered during Pride Month.
What would you like to see happen for LGBTQ+ communities in the future?
I hope to see a reduction in the discrimination faced by LGBTQ+ people both here and internationally. Diversity should be celebrated. I hope that the LGB part of our community stands firmly with our trans and non-binary siblings and don’t allow divisions to be sewn by those who wish us all harm.