Myles Jackman, the pioneering lawyer who specialises in representing members of the BDSM, LGBTQ, adult industry and sex-work communities facing British prosecutions, has just racked up another first.
He is a vocal critic of laws that interfere with personal sexuality and personal freedom. He has campaigned against the UK’s obscenity laws saying that they are “20 years behind social values”.
He is highly critical of the difference between the UK age of consent (16) and the age of majority (18) which has led to teenagers being criminalised by ‘sexting’ selfies.
And he has also criticised the Crown Prosecution Service for being “institutionally homophobic”.
The lawyer, who has taken on a number of cases through his links to the UK campaigning organisation Backlash, was recently the subject of a major profile by journalist Edward Docx for The Guardian newspaper’s Long Read series.
The article revealed that, far from living the sort of comfortable and secure life that people assume all established lawyers enjoy, Myles Jackman takes on so much pro bono work that he can barely survive on the work that people actually pay him to do.
The Guardian story published in early September also revealed that Myles was facing the likelihood of having to relinquish his flat in London’s Somers Town and becoming homeless.
Clearly a radical solution was required, if Brits who find themselves on the wrong end of various pieces of draconian legislation were not to lose a most able champion.
As a result, the social network-savvy solicitor — who was the first to have one of his criminal trials (that of Michael Peacock) live-tweeted, and the first solicitor granted permission to live-tweet a criminal trial he was acting in (for Simon Walsh) — has launched a fundraising campaign on the US-hosted crowdfunding site Patreon.
The personal donations on Patreon, which currently range from pledges of $1 to $150 per month, will allow Myles Jackman to work pro bono on legal
Commenting on the Patreon campaign, Jackman told us: “I’m launching my appeal in the public domain, as the first lawyer to use crowdfunding to create social change. I want to benefit society by challenging our arcane obscenity laws.
“Given the current climate of Government cuts to criminal legal aid, I knew I had to do something to continue my pro bono activism and work campaigning for the recognition and rights of the BDSM, LGBTQ, adult industry and sex-work communities.
“I launched my Patreon appeal to my Facebook friends two weeks ago. Within ten days I had over 70 patrons, who had pledged to donate over $1,000 in total every month.
“I feel completely overwhelmed by the generosity of spirit my friends have demonstrated.”
Myles added that if anyone wondered why a British lawyer defending British people in British courts had chosen a US website that invites people to make donations in dollars as opposed to pounds sterling, the answer was simple. It’s the only site of its kind.
Other crowdfunding websites that permit people to conduct their fundraising in local currencies do not allow campaigns seeking ongoing monthly donations.
So Myles Jackman is understandably hoping that having everything couched in dollars will not put off participation by Brits who, as a national group, would be the most likely to benefit from his work.
With the minimum donation of $1 dollar a month currently working out at 66p — or a smidgeon over two pence a day — we would hope so too!
Published October 7, 2015