In the past few decades, the fields of design and architecture have been emerging as a platform for people to explore and express openly, as a beacon of hope and a celebration of identity, culture, and freedom. People are actively endorsing equality and inclusivity in their work by breaking the general notions of space and interpreting it across all spectrums of society. Although entirely inclusive and equal environments are still a goal in progress, these designers are using their creative opinions and voice as a force of change for the better.
Here is a list of ten such architects and designers who are actively advocating for the LGBTQIA+ community through their work:
1. Jane Greenwood
Co-founder of the organization of Lesbians + Gay Architects and designers, architect and activist Jane Greenwood is a vocal advocate of queer inclusion in the architecture and construction industry. Voted as one of ‘Out’ magazine’s most influential people of the year 2017, she is a celebrated personality who has positively induced change by speaking up for equality in every respect and by ensuring people from all parts of the society irrespective of their gender, age, or race are included and respected in the workplace.
2. Dr. Ben Campkin
Dr. Ben Campkin is a senior lecturer at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College of London, and has also been a director of UCL’s trans-disciplinary urban laboratory since 2011. He undertakes interdisciplinary research on cities and urbanization including reports and exhibitions on the LGBTQIA+ community and how architecture can play a pivotal role in supporting the queer community by creating more socially inclusive spaces.
His current research on LGBTQ Nightlife in London documents the past and existing queer spaces to understand the importance of these spaces for the wider communities and how it reflects on the culture and heritage of the city.
3. Nate Berkus
Famous for his appearances during home makeovers on the Oprah Winfrey Show, Nate Berkus is an American interior designer. Ever since his indelible role on Oprah, he has led his TV career with television talk shows, as an executive producer of the film ‘The Help’ and a show on TLC with his partner Jeremiah Brent.
Apart from this, he has authored two New York Times bestselling books and has developed several collections with retailers. He and his husband actively participate in pro-LGBTQIA+ initiatives and advocate the same in their interviews.
4. Todd Oldham
A fashion designer turned interior designer, Todd Oldham made his debut in the field through MTV’s House of Style, leading the idea of accessible design. He has become a pioneer in the industry by designing home goods collections in collaboration with several brands, writing books on DIY Design, and completing various commercial and residential projects. Apart from this, he has also written a book called ‘Queer Threads’ that highlights the work of notable queer artists.
5. Tom Guy
Director at Guy Piper Architects in London, Tom Guy is an active member of the LGBTQIA+ community. After a discussion on the lack of diversity within the profession in 2016, Tom Guy started a social group called ‘Architecture LGBT+’, for architects of the community. He is also the founder of ‘National Student Pride’ which assists LGBT+ students in the United Kingdom.
6. Jonathan Adler
Potter, designer and author, Jonathan Adler is a prominent voice in New York’s LGBTQIA+ community. From working with different organizations that support LGBT+ rights to filming videos with his partner, advocating change and hope, Adler actively expresses his support. He also designed a special fleet of BMW convertible series as a part of the NYC Pride Parade to evoke a sense of unity and joy within the community.
7. Debbie Millman
Host of the award-winning podcast ‘Design Matters’, Debbie Millman is a designer, curator, author, and educator. Named as one of the most influential designers by Graphic Design USA, she is an advocate and activist for LGBTQIA+ visibility in design.
8. Adam Nathaniel Furman
A designer, architect and artist from a diverse racial heritage, based in London, Furman has a unique and recognizable sense of style that has evolved over his ideas of identity and culture. His design is known for differing from the typical binary colour palettes to a more fluid, non-binary, and ambiguous fashion thereby promoting aesthetic freedom through design for those of non-conforming identities.
9. Al Hu
As a queer, non-binary designer of colour, Al Hu actively works at the intersection of gender equity and architectural labour. They currently work towards providing sustainable and equitable housing for New York communities at Ascendant Neighbourhood Development in East Harlem. They also run an online group called ‘Queeries’ for LGBT+ designers and work with a collective called ‘Design as a protest’ that aims to prevent inequality in design.
10. Sawyer DeVuyst
A Los Angeles and New York-based transgender actor, model, artist and designer; Sawyer’s design philosophy combines a minimalistic touch with an essence of fun. He believes in creating a shift in perspective towards greater acceptance of society and is currently working on a self-portrait art collection known as ‘Mine’ which reforms transgender storytelling by capturing his everyday life in photographs.