Solicitor in unique tie-up with Essex gay group

An Essex firm of solicitors has sealed a unique tie-up with a group representing the county’s gay community.

Birkett Long, which has offices in Chelmsford and Colchester, sponsors the Essex Gay Men (EGM) website, and provides a service tailored to the group’s members, including civil partnerships, co-habitation agreements and employment issues.

Jason Richer, chairman of EGM, said the partnership – the only one of its kind in the county – was an important step forward for the gay community.

“We received a number of calls from people who were experiencing a range of difficult issues, and it became clear there was a need for legal advice,” he added.

“Birkett Long showed that it was committed to equality in its own organisation, and was happy to be open about its support for gay people.

“Other solicitors will deal with gay people, but Birkett Long has produced specialist leaflets for us, and there is already awareness there so people can feel comfortable when they contact them.”

The company has also provided sponsorship funds to help EGM run drop-in centres for the next year. The voluntary group provides support and information to gay and bisexual men across Essex, and campaigns on LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) issues.

Emma Brunning, a senior family lawyer at the firm, said that some gay people may still be concerned that they are not understood or supported.

“That’s clearly wrong, and we wanted people to be aware that they could talk to someone who was absolutely not going to judge them, so they could be open right from the start,” she added.

“I sincerely hope that people don’t experience prejudice but, with us, they can be confident they will be dealt with sensitively and supported.”

For more information about EGM and Birkett Long, visit www.essexgaymen.org.uk

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