I was called to the Bar in 2019. My family were present, including my sister. I was glad they were all there. After navigating the dress and entering the hall waiting to be called, I spotted my family. There was a table in front of my sister, and she was shaking some balls she likes to hold, that make her happy.
My sister isn’t always quiet in settings, and I was starting to feel a little nervous since I was aware of how formal a ceremony being called to the Bar is. She is hilarious and I love her boldness, but I felt like I was holding my breath slightly as I watched Benchers processing in right in front of my sister. I watched and almost every Bencher turned their head and smiled at my sister, and she was quite proudly smiling back. I stopped feeling nervous and had to blink a few more times than I normally would have.
I was called and also smiled at my family as I walked up. After my call I watched staff at the Inn come over and say hello to my family and I. When we were leaving the Hall, I noticed that the Inn was accessible – something I hadn’t admittedly previously noticed and wasn’t sure how we would navigate it.
The smiles and hellos from the Benchers and staff at my Inn might have been a small gesture on their part but I remember it well. You tend to notice the small gestures when walking with someone with a disability. I remember asking my mum when I was about five why people stared at my sister, particularly when she was using her wheelchair. I did some training recently and everyone was asked about a time they felt included – I initially struggled to think of this. But I realised, I feel included when my sister is included and made to feel welcome and comfortable.