Clifford Chance's network for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) individuals, Arcus, has dedicated almost 300 pro bono hours to LGBT issues around the world. The team's principal pro bono partners are: The Human Dignity Trust(HDT), an organisation that seeks to challenge laws criminalising homosexuality in Commonwealth countries; Non-Gendered, a campaign for full legal recognition of a non-gendered identity; and the Albert Kennedy Trust, a charity helping young LGBT people.
Arcus is on HDT's legal panel and has most recently assisted with:
- commencing anti-homophobic litigation in Cameroon, including the test case of Roger Mbede, which will be used to challenge Cameroon's anti-homosexuality legislation;
- supporting a petition to the UN, resulting in a formal UN complaint to the Cameroonian government relating to the treatment of human rights activists and LGBT individuals;
- hosting a screening of the film 'Call me Kuchu' to raise awareness of the HDT's activities among the firm's high profile clients including Citi, Barclays and JP Morgan.
HDT legal director, Tea Braun, said "This is incredibly helpful, thanks to all at Clifford Chance! We really could not do this without you guys. Thank you."
The team has worked with Non-Gendered to challenge the UK government's decision not to allow 'x' passports, and to propose the expansion of the Equality Act to afford statutory protection for non-gendered individuals.
The Albert Kennedy Trust's 'Give15' campaign helps hundreds of gay and lesbian young people who have been thrown out of their homes because of their sexuality. The Arcus team has helped raise £60,000 for the cause.