Every June, the world celebrates Pride Month, highlighting visibility and commemorating the struggle for justice that LGBTQ+ people have historically faced. The month memorialises the first demonstrations by members of the community following the Stonewall riots, which occurred at the end of June 1969.
This month, we want to shine the spotlight on the work of charities and alliances who are trying to make a difference in construction, and to encourage the industry to support their causes beyond Pride Month.
Building Equality: a UK-wide alliance of construction, engineering and built environment organisations driving inclusivity
Building Equality describe themselves 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. Our vision is to have a wholly welcoming, inclusive and supportive industry for LGBTQ+ individuals.”
By driving towards policy change and holding regular webinars with organisation members, Building Equality continuously strive towards facilitating conversations and creating safe spaces in the construction and engineering industries.
During this year’s Pride Month, members of Building Equality have hosted webinars on how guidance of how to be a better ally to the community with engineering groups BDP, VolkerWessels, and Interengineering LGBT.
This year, 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. You can become a supporter of their organisation on their website, and keep up with their events on Twitter.
Taking action within your work environment
The construction industry has to take accountability and action towards creating a more positive environment at every level for marginalised members of the LGBTQ+ community, both on site and in the office. According to a 2018 survey carried out by Construction News, 28% of people face LGBTQ-phobic abuse at work, 54% feel uncomfortable being open about being LGBTQ+ on site, 59% of LGBTQ+ staff have overheard ‘gay’ used in work (in a derogatory manner), 30.8% feel being LGBTQ+ in the construction industry negatively impacts their mental health, and 60.5% feel being LGBTQ+ has created career progression barriers.
We must all work towards making the construction industry more accepting by challenging the status quo through education and conversation. Prejudice exists in every industry – Stonewall charity suggest that more than a third of people are known to hide that they are LGBTQ+ at work due to fear of discrimination. Stonewall charity provide courses and guidance on how to create more inclusive workplaces, with further information to be found on their website.
We hope to help foster more tolerant workplaces for members of the LGBTQ+ community, where all people feel accepted and respected.
At Plant Planet, we take a stand against any type of discrimination, and would like to wish all members of the LGBTQ+ community a happy Pride Month and beyond.