Sir Adrian Fulford

“I wanted to be a high court judge. At the time I didn’t see it as a possible career path for gay men.  But I did it and that was in the 70's.’’

Has being gay ever caused you problems at work?

When I got into Law professionally in the 70s, I made a decision not to be one of those barristers who pretend to be straight and have a sham wedding. I came out and held my head high and I found a huge level of acceptance and support.

Some judges and fellow barristers from an earlier era didn’t like it.  But I ignored them and acted the same with them, as I did with the people who didn’t find my sexuality an issue. I refused to change my behaviour and it worked really well.  I accepted them and the fact that they didn’t like who I was, so in the end they had to accept me too.

Sir Adrian Fulford

Sir Adrian's remarks from Pink Law Legal Advice Centre launch
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I deeply regret not doing the same at school.  But it was the 60s and I was at a very old fashioned boarding school – being gay wasn’t even discussed.  I wish I was educated in the environment that kids are now, where you can come out and it’s not a problem.

School days are the most important ones of your life and I think it’s very sad if you have to go through them whilst concealing a huge aspect of yourself.

Anyway, soon after I became a barrister, I decided that I wanted to be a high court judge.

At the time I didn’t see it as a possible career path for gay men, but I did it and that was in the 70s.  It’s a demonstration of the opportunities available to homosexual people.

Anything is achievable if you work hard and you will find that, in the legal world at least, no one is discriminating against gay people. Attitudes have completely changed.


About Sir Adrian:

Sir Adrian Fulford has had an esteemed legal career spanning decades. He started out as a barrister in 1978, but is now one of the most powerful Judges in the country.

His achievements are all the more remarkable because he cracked the highly conservative world of law at a time when being openly gay would have held back the career of even the most talented individual.

He is a judge on the Queen’s Bench Division of the High Court of England and Wales and is also one of the first 18 judges that were sworn into the world’s first permanent war crimes court in The Hague.

He was awarded a Knighthood in 2002.

Sir Adrian appears in our inspirational Aim High booklet, along with 19 other people at the top of their respective fields, showing sexuality should not get in the way of success.