Netanya Clixby is a managing associate in our Global Finance group, based in our London Office.
Do you think your professional experience has been different as a member of the LGBTQ+ community?
Yes, but I am lucky to have had positive experiences of being an LGBTQ+ professional. During my training contract, I noticed a lack of visible bisexual representation in the legal sector. I spoke with my peers in other industries, and they experienced the same issue in their sectors. I flagged this to my firm, and they encouraged me to form the London Bisexual Network (the LBN) during the second year of my training contract. The LBN is the first professional network for bisexual people and allies in London. We deliver bi-visibility training to employers across the city in finance, tech, and professional services. Our launch event was hosted by my previous firm, with Dame Inga Beale and other senior bi industry representatives speaking at the event. Having the firm support my identity made it much easier for me to feel like I fitted in, which had a positive impact on my performance at work. The contacts and community I developed through the LBN continue to have a positive impact on my experience at work.
Can you tell us about other LGBTQ+ groups you are affiliated with?
In addition to being the co-chair and co-founder of the London Bisexual Network, I am on the Law Society’s LGBT+ Lawyers’ Division Committee, which represents LGBT+ Lawyers in England and Wales. I’m also on the board of Open for Business, a charity that uses financial markets research and economic data to present the business case for LGBT+ inclusion in problematic jurisdictions.
What is your advice for allies who want to support the LGBTQ+ community?
The first step for allies of any community is to be vocal and visible supporters. Law firm cultures are partner led, so it is particularly important for partners and senior leadership to be vocal about their commitment to diversity and inclusion initiatives.
It is also important for allies to feel comfortable feeling uncomfortable. A few years ago, I started looking into how I could better support the trans community as an ally. I had started seeing an increase in anti-trans propaganda and hate speech in the media, which reminded me of the history of anti-Semitic propaganda that I had learned about at synagogue. I previously had little exposure to the trans community and made mistakes along the way (asking inappropriate questions, misunderstanding the issues, etc.). As lawyers, we are perfectionists, so the idea of making mistakes is particularly off putting. Allies need to be okay with making mistakes and learning from them.
Can you share with us a saying or quote that gives you inspiration?
The following poem, written by a Lutheran pastor during the holocaust, is inspirational to me. It is a reminder of why being an ally to underrepresented groups is so important:
First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out — Because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.