Gay men don’t mediate?
Stuart Hanson is the managing partner at Direct Mediation Services. He is a winner of one of the National Mediation Awards and has served as a director of The College of Mediators. He is registered as an accredited family mediator and Professional Practice Consultant with the Family Mediation Council. He is the firm’s LGBTQ+ champion.
A divorcing couple called the mediation service I work for. The angry sounding man spoke first, “I want a male mediator, as he will understand where I am coming from.” The woman within a millisecond interjected with, “Well, I want a woman then.” I left it a moment thinking how I could respond to this initial conflict, “If it helps, I am gay, so maybe that bridges the gap?!” It broke the tension and they started laughing and agreed that I would be a good halfway house.
I have been a family mediator for five years and before this, I was magistrate in the family courts in Leeds. During this time, I have got to hear everything from the daytime TV cliche, “My husband left me and set up home with my sister” to the more complex, “I think the kid’s mine, but I am not too sure, but he does have my squint.” In short, mediators in my profession deal with all types of family disputes. The issues discussed generally relate to how children spend time with each parent and/or the finances post separation or divorce. The idea of attending mediation is to stop people from going to court and is current being encourage by the government as the preferred way to resolve family disputes.
Now, I have to say that no one day is the same at work and I get to see the good, the bad and the ugly in my mediation room, as do my colleagues, but what we don’t see are gay men. We have many lesbians, who are service users, but we are very noticeably bereft of gay men. Where are they hiding? Are they in the legal closet? I started to ponder the question, is it that the gay male race is just more civilised and we sort things out over lunch and a good bottle of claret? I would like to think that, but having seen the arguments coming out of The Flying Handbag on a Friday night, I have my doubts.
Family mediation is a well-kept secret and without a doubt it is a much cheaper way to separate than using solicitors. It is also a regulated profession, which is overseen by the Family Mediation Council. In addition to this, Legal Aid also remains in place to support people on low incomes or benefits. For those who don’t qualify, there is the Mediation Voucher Scheme funded by the Ministry of Justice for separating parents who are trying to sort out child arrangements. This funding is open to everyone irrespective of their incomes.
No one wants to think about the end of a relationship, but remember we are here if you find yourself late at night in a karaoke bar singing,
At first I was afraid, I was petrified
Kept thinking I could never live without you by my side
But then I spent so many nights thinking how you did me wrong
And I grew strong
And I learned how to get along
Want to have a chat or learn more about family mediation for same sex couples?
You can speak with Stuart or one our LGBTQ team members for a no obligation chat on 0113 468 9593. There is also the form below, which you can complete for a free call back.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Where can I find a gay mediator?
Look no further! Direct Mediation Services is run by gay family mediator, Stuart. He also has other gay colleagues if one gay mediator is not enough.
Will my mediator understand our situation as a gay divorcing couple?
As a mediation firm, we believe every family is different and the key is listening. Having a gay mediator may make you feel more comfortable, so let us know if you want one of our team who identifies as LGBTQ+ to manage your case.
Is mediation the same for gay separating couples as it is for straight people?
Yes, it is the same process and there are no differences in how we would manage your same sex family mediation case.
Is the mediation voucher available for same sex couples?
Yes, totally, but remember that the voucher is only for child arrangements. However, if you are on specific benefits or low income, you may be eligible for Legal Aid.
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