“There is No Dignified Way to Be Both Trans and a Salaried Judge”, UKs Only Trans Judge Says as She Retires

Trans judge Victoria McCloud will step down from the High Court of England in April, claiming her continued presence risks politicising the judiciary. Below, we explore the events that influenced her decision and why transgender representation matters. We also examine how the legal profession can better support the trans community.

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Trans Judge Resigns to Avoid Politicking the Judiciary

Master Victoria McCloud transitioned in the 1990s, becoming the UK’s first trans judge. In 2010, she was the youngest appointed King’s Bench Master of the High Court, at just 40 years of age.

The High Court judge then maintained a private life until 2016, when a national newspaper publicised her transgender identity. Subsequently, she publicly advocated for diversity in the judiciary. One such example includes when the University of Oxford graduate contributed to the Equal Treatment Benchbook of the Judiciary. This established guidelines concerning matters like “acceptable terminology” to respect one’s gender identity.

However, in her resignation letter, she explained how her newfound publicity “came at a cost” as she became “a target”. The trans judge added how “it has been open season on me” due to the “gender critical” movement upsurge. This meant that even “choosing where to pee” felt like a political decision.

As such, she believed her dignity and that of the High Court of England were at stake. Ms Victoria McCloud had previously stated that new transgender judges “would be welcome” to promote diversity in the profession. However, she’s since concluded it impossible to be a dignified UK trans judge due to the current judicial framework and national perception.

Trans Representation May Help Avoid Well-Being and Talent Shortage Issues

With Britain’s only trans judge resigning, the profession loses its only transgender representation. This could negatively impact the legal sector, as representation is vital for well-being and attracting talent.

In a post-pandemic world, ‘well-being’ is on many people’s tongue. Concerning representation, trans individuals in the legal sector may have looked up to the High Court judge and felt comfortable discussing their difficulties. 

The same goes for other legal companies, whereby trans people may be more inclined to seek support if they actively see their employer supporting transgender people. Yet, a lack of representation may prevent such individuals from asking for help, meaning their mental health and performance could suffer.

Moreover, another trend that’s resulted from Covid is the talent shortage many sectors face. Should a trans individual see they aren’t well represented in an industry, they may be put off it. That’s because they could fear discrimination or a lack of support to progress in their career. Therefore, trans representation is vital to avoid losing an area of talent.

Legal Profession Must Learn from the Trans Judge

With shortfalls concerning transgender support in the legal industry being highlighted, much can be learned from the departing trans judge. For starters, educating professionals in the sector through training could result in a more supportive and inclusive workforce. This is because individuals could better understand the experiences trans individuals face daily, helping them to relate.

Education could also help minimise the impacts of unconscious bias. Once individuals know how to identify their personal biases, they can consciously act to ensure it doesn’t affect decisions like promotion opportunities.

Furthermore, encouraging people to call out discrimination and bullying in the workplace could help those who identify as transgender feel supported. By seeing colleagues help stamp out unacceptable behaviour, a more inclusive workplace culture will be apparent.

Finally, it’s essential to recognise and celebrate the differences in the workforce. This will clearly show individuals from minority backgrounds that the employer looks to promote inclusivity.

Regardless of the steps taken, the legal profession must look to support the transgender community better. In a world that looks to promote well-being, diversity, equality and inclusion, no one should be made to feel like the trans judge did.

If you have any questions about your trans rights or feel they are being neglected, contact us now. Redmans Solicitors are experts in the employment law sector and could advise on how to proceed. To get in touch with us today, simply: