At the very moment that I am writing these lines sitting on a train from Düsseldorf to Frankfurt, where I will be giving a presentation on the interplay between data privacy and anti-money laundering compliance, things are shifting… Chancellor Merkel, whose Christian Democrats have been blocking a vote on the introduction of same-sex marriage in Germany for many years, stated on Monday that there should be an open vote in parliament.
Regardless of whether marriage will become open to all in the days to come or in the months thereafter, Pride will continue to be important for the LGBTI community, both in Germany and abroad. From my perspective, being LGBTI in Germany is still not regarded as “normal” in the business community, and in too many societies being LGBTI is not just frowned upon but puts people in real danger.
As a compliance and disputes partner at Simmons & Simmons in Germany, the very same firm in which I did my traineeship, I have always been happy to be working in a supportive environment that has traditionally been open to its LGBTI staff. While the number of out LGBTI persons in our German offices is quite small, we have a very strong and active group of Straight Allies. Strength comes in numbers, and having this network is extremely important to me.
I will not lie to you: of course, there have been challenges. People who found it difficult to congratulate me when I married or, to be legally correct, entered into a registered partnership with my husband Andreas, who is a successful IP lawyer in a boutique firm. Persons who automatically think that my being gay means that I am a “soft litigator”. And those who, in many cases, will ask me about my private life sooner or later and, with almost no exception, assume that I am heterosexual, so I still have the experience of ‘coming out’ on a regular basis. Read more via The Lawyer