The Campaign is dedicated to making the construction and trades industry an inclusive and welcoming career field for everyone. A 2021 Gallup Poll found that 7.1% of adults in the United States identify as LGBT. US construction labor data does not track people’s sexual orientation, but a 2015 study by the United Kingdom’s Construction Industry Council anonymously surveyed nearly 24,000 construction workers. The results show that 1% of workers identified as bisexual, 0.8% identified as a gay man, and 0.2% identified as a gay woman or lesbian. People identifying as LGBTQ+ are a minority in the United States, and an even smaller minority in the construction trades. As such, it is important for the industry to examine this disparity and consider how to create an inclusive environment. Several groups have published toolkits for construction companies to help achieve this. Here is an aggregate of actions from those toolkits that employers and teams can undertake:
- Provide gender neutral bathrooms.
- Use gender neutral pronouns or ask everyone to assert and respect people’s preferences.
- Adopt DEIA statements and related policies that include sexual orientation and gender identity.
- Create a safe reporting system for workplace harassment.
- Survey employees anonymously to gauge people’s sense of welcome and inclusion in the workplace
- Offer resources employees can opt into, such as affinity groups or mentorship programs.
For solo practitioners, emerging professionals, or those looking to get into the field that identify as LGBTQ+, here are a few resources and ideas to tap into:
- Build Out Alliance
The Build Out Alliance promotes and advocates for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community within the building design and construction industry. Our members build an environment where people serve openly and with pride across all roles and sectors of the industry. The Alliance hosts events, offers networking opportunities, and mentorship.
- Blue Collar Trans
A forum billed for the out of office trans and/or non-binary worker to offer advice and support for people in the field.
- Dykes With Drills
Dykes With Drills is a nonprofit that empowers people with the tools to build. Self-proclaiming the word “dyke” to reclaim it from its history of oppression and exclusion, Dykes With Drills is open to people of all sexualities and genders, including those who are non-conforming, transgender, and allies. They host workshops, retreats, volunteer events and meet-ups at various locations across the country.
This is by no means a comprehensive or universal list of resources or actions. We hope to continue growing these resource lists and calls to action. Do you have suggestions? Please send them to us to provide a platform!
Toolkits for employers:
1. Jeffrey M. Jones, “LGBT Identification in U.S. Ticks Up to 7.1%,” February 17, 2022, <https://news.gallup.com/poll/389792/lgbt-identification-ticks-up.aspx>
2. “A Blueprint for Change: Measuring success and sharing good practice, Construction Industry Council, 2015. <https://www.cic.org.uk/shop/a-blueprint-for-change>]
Toolkits for industry:
3. Amanda Fennell, “Celebrating LGBT+ Construction – And Building a More Inclusive Future,” Digital Builder, February 25, 2021, <https://constructionblog.autodesk.com/celebrating-lgbt-construction/>
4. Publications and Toolkits Library from Stonewall: <https://www.stonewall.org.uk/power-inclusive-workplaces>
5. “Construction and LGBTQ+,” Go Construct, <https://www.goconstruct.org/why-choose-construction/diversity-in-construction/construction-and-lgbtplus/>
6. Richard Chapman Harris, “Five ways construction firms can bolster LGBT inclusion,” Mott MacDonald, <https://www.mottmac.com/views/five-ways-construction-firms-can-bolster-lgbt-inclusion>