Data from the University of Westminster and the UCL Center for Ethics and Law show that over 50 percent of law students and attorneys who identify as LGBT have complained of discrimination in the academy and in the workplace, respectively.
The study, "Sexuality at the Bar," was conducted online through surveys and interviews and polled responses from 126 barristers and Bar students.
Gay Star News explained how researchers discovered a trend of intolerance concentrated among the upper tiers of the law courts, "where the UK's top barristers mentor junior students."
One instructor, a participant of the study, said: "One of my fellow students was at an Inns' qualifying session and was talking to a bencher who sort of jokingly or flamboyantly said, 'I don't trust fags like you.”
Head of Equality & Diversity at the Bar Council Sam Mercer deemed comments of the kind inexcusable, "whether made seriously or in jest.”
A representative of the Bar Standards Board who lauded the research as "very much welcome" said that “we need to study its specific findings and recommendations closely before considering what, if any, further regulatory action needs to happen in this area."
The study revealed furthermore that while around 80 percent of interviewees lived openly as gay with family, friends, and colleagues, only 23 percent made a point of coming out to their clients.
One of the study's co-authors, Marc Mason, found these percentages problematic.
"If they are not out as LGBT, it’s not that they don’t have a sexuality, they get painted with the default option of being straight," he said to the GSN. "This report asks questions about the way the bar and legal profession look like to the rest of the world."