As the world celebrates LGBTQIA+ Pride month, we want to take a moment to celebrate some of the amazing and influential gay, lesbian, bisexual, and trans planners & engineers who are making an impact within the construction industry, specifically on the planning side of things - as a short-term planning platform we had to!
Below are only a few examples of LGBTQIA+ construction professionals and the impacts they have made on the construction industry.
What is the Construction Industry doing for LGBTQIA+
Building Equality describes itself as “an alliance of construction consultants, engineers, developers, contractors, and institutions who are passionate about working together and harnessing our collective power to drive LGBTQ+ inclusion in the construction, engineering and built environment sector.”
By driving policy change and holding regular webinars with organisation members, like BDP and VolkerWessels Building Equality continuously strive toward facilitating conversations and creating safe spaces in the construction and engineering industries.
They have also hosted talks on mental health, diversity within the community, LBTQ+ women and marginalised genders in the built environment for Lesbian Visibility Week, and more.
What are Companies in Construction doing for LGBTQIA+
Jacobs have grown from strength to strength in walking the walk for inclusion since the 2017 when Prism, Jacobs' employee network for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Intersex people and their allies (LGBTI+) won the ‘New Network Group of the Year’ Award at Rainbow Honours Awards in the U.K.
Across 2022 Jacobs have put inclusion at the heart of the business, by "understanding that “inclusion” is a verb, not a noun" and involves constant and conscious effort. They have ranked highly in 'Best Places to Work For LGBTQ+ Equality' in Human Rights Campaign's Corporate Equality Index four years running, and secured their first-ever ranking in Stonewall’s UK Workplace Equality Index (WEI) Top 100 Employers List for LGBTQIA+ People.
What are Individuals in Construction doing for LGBTQIA+
How could we write this piece without special acknowledgement of Christina Riley, who has become a leading figure, and inspiration to so many in the construction industry in the UK. Christina has worked for over 25 years in the industry, as a senior planner at Galliford Try, Balfour Beatty, Kier & Morgan Sindall.
She transitioned while working at Balfour Beatty and has since volunteered at several industry-wide LGBTQ groups, and has become a founding member of Building Equality (a network of more than 50 large construction firms in the U.K. that fights for diversity and inclusion). Riley also founded and runs @LGBTConstruct, where she delivers dozens of toolbox talks on inclusion, safety and anti-bullying at projects like Crossrail -and has led workshops sponsored by the U.K.- government-funded Construction Industry Training Board.
“The LGBT community is one of the few areas of the industry where there’s a really strong collaboration between competitors to be inclusive as an industry,” Riley says.
What can you do for LGBTQIA+ in Construction?
As an industry, construction has been making great strides in its inclusion of LGBTQIA+ people, but there's always room for improvement. Here are five things you can do to help make construction an even more inclusive environment for LGBTQIA+ people:
- Educate yourself and others on the issues faced by LGBTQIA+ people in construction.
- Advocate for LGBTQIA+ inclusion in your workplace and on construction projects.
- Be an ally to LGBTQIA+ people in construction. This means being someone who stands up for them when they're not around and creating a safe and welcoming environment for them to work in.
- This incredible article by Fiona Connor, senior design engineer at Gavin & Doherty Geosolutions in New Civil Engineer gives actionable advice whatever your role.
- Show your support for LGBTQIA+ inclusion in construction by flying the flag during Pride month!
- Building Equality have an in-depth guide to all the flags in their 2022 Allies Toolbox here.
- Celebrate the achievements of LGBTQIA+ people in construction, and make sure they're visible within your workplace and on construction projects.
What is LGBTQIA+ ?
LGBTQIA+ is an initialism, which may not be as prevalent as the many other acronyms which construction love, but is definitely hugely important.
+ Allies, and represents those who are part of the community, but for whom LGBTQ does not accurately capture or reflect their identity
So now you know!