June is celebrated as Pride month by the LGBTQ communities all around the world. These celebrations mark a sense of freedom to honor the acceptance of the community. Many people around the world, coming from different backgrounds and diversities have been celebrating this month since 1969. The gatherings are to pay homage to the stonewall uprising in June 1969 in New York City that led to a modern gay rights movement.
In the United States the last Sunday in June was initially celebrated as a “Gay Pride Day”, but in the later years the day soon took over a series of events happening around June. Since then, the Pride month has proven to be an inspiration for people to seek help, support, and equality. Pride parades, workshops, picnics, parties, and concerts are a part of the celebrations that attract millions of participants from around the world. Since then the Pride month reach has only grown over time.
In the architectural industry, RIBA has been at the forefront in making the construction industry an active part of the Pride celebrations.
RIBA is a professional body for the architects registered in the United Kingdom, but its reach is international. They have been collaborating with various such organizations to make sure that workplaces and studios have a healthy work culture.
This year RIBA has collaborated with Architecture LGBT+ which is a non-profit organization started in 2016. The main agenda of this organization is to make the workspaces and the overall industry safe, prejudice-free, and inclusive. This involves targeting spaces of working as well as studying.
Research conducted by Stonewell shows that more than a third of LGBT staff (35 percent) have hidden that they are LGBT, with a fear that they would be discriminated against. The Architect’s Journal published a shocking survey where 59 % of architects and 83 % of contractors have been attacked with homophobic comments. The LGBT charity Stonewall also publishes a yearly Equality Index of 100 most inclusive firms in Britain to ensure social awareness amongst the peers. Researchers also say that architecture has been on a rather back burner in ensuring work equality and inclusivism, RIBA intends to change that.
Due to the current pandemic crisis, the entire world has been on a consistent lockdown and active social distancing protocols. Many events that have been a yearly affair have either shut down for a year or have found other methods to continue the tradition. This year RIBA has moved to online celebrations of the Pride month. This year the event is chaired by Carl Straw, RIBA Head of HR & Operations with core speakers Femi Ores Anya, Chair of RIBA’s Architects for change group and Rachel Reese, CEO, Global Butterflies founder and CEO of Trans and Non- Binary Consultancy.
Previously RIBA has hosted Pride breakfast gatherings since 2016. These events are a part of the London Festival of Architecture. Many events, lectures, and Q&A sessions are chaired and curated by some of the prime members of the Architectural community. Previously, Jane Duncan, President of RIBA along with Danni Kerr, RIBA Role model and Trans architect has been a part of the 2016 Pride Breakfast. Tom Copley, Deputy Chair London Assembly Housing Committee was also a part of this initiative. The 2017 Pride Breakfast also had a series of guest lectures and events. In 2018 Pride Breakfast series of speakers hosted a discussion on the subject of intersectionality and its role in modern society which was followed by walking in the London Pride event with the Architecture LGBT+ float designed by Hawkins\Brown.
“Hawkins\Brown’s design not only successfully celebrates LGBT+ Architects as part of this year’s Pride in London, but innovatively promotes acceptance and diversity by embedding the celebratory message that London’s built environment should be a space for all.“
– Tom Guy, partner at Guy Piper Architects and founder of Architecture LGBT+
In 2019 a Pride Brunch was hosted at RIBA which included guest speakers from Albert Kennedy Trust who have been doing social work to support the young LGBT+ people who are facing a housing crisis. The event was followed by marching in the Pride Parade with a Float designed by the Raw Architecture workshop.
The discussions are mainly centric towards visibility and role models that challenge the social norms and practices. They intend to provide a fresh perspective for all the attendance with new ideas to create more support practices. They also intend to mellow down the masculine tone which is a predominant, to make the industry much wide and diverse in its access.
These celebrations are intended as an initiative to generate the importance of having safe working spaces for all in the architectural and construction industry. With each progressing year, RIBA has continued to be on the forefront for an active change to make the Architectural Industry a more inclusive and caring profession.