LGBT History Month is a month-long observance of lesbian, gay, bi and transgender (LGBT+) history and is a means of raising awareness for the issues faced by LGBT+ people. Building Equality have been hosting events, talks and discussions from prominent figures from our industry and beyond, across the whole of February 2020. This includes their Birmingham region launch where they hosted ‘A discussion on diversity and inclusion in construction’, as well as an open Question and Answer in the North East, at BIM Show Live, where they opened the floor to answer ‘Everything you ever wanted to know about being #LGBT+ in Construction.’
In Greater Manchester Building Equality hosted ‘The importance of role models and real-life reflection.’ Role models whether on construction sites, or in poetry, pose and plays (this year’s LGBT History Month theme), can help to break down barriers and challenge misconceptions by showing others, like you, what can be achieved.
The importance of visible role models, in all aspects of life, has never been more important. We have seen great strides towards LGBT+ equality through laws and legislation, and we have more visible LGBT+ role models than ever before – including the evenings esteemed guests Sue Sanders; Sally Carr; Paul Fairweather; and more. However, recent statistics and surveys show us that there is still progress to be made, if we are going to achieve full equity for LGBT+ individuals. And to achieve this we need real-life, every day, visible role models.
The evening started with a Building Equality ‘Year in Review’ where Outgoing-Chair of Greater Manchester, Luke Ives, delved into their significant growth over the last 12 months, including celebrating the success of their UK-wide initiatives and events. We then heard from Founder of LGBT History Month UK, Professor Emeritus Sue Sanders. Sue explored and celebrated the achievements of LGBT+ individuals in all their diversity and discussed their significant contributions to society. This included highlighting this years themed role models:
- Lesbian – Lorraine Hansberry
- Gay – Edward Morgan Forster
- Bi – William Shakespeare
- Transgender – Dawn Langley Simmons
This was followed by a star-studded panel including Sally Carr (Operations Director, The Proud Trust), Daniel Cook (CEO, The Landscape Institute), Jay Crawford (Sparkle: The National Transgender Charity), Paul Fairweather (LGBT+ Activist and Historian) and Cheddar Gorgeous (Drag Performer and TV personality) – discussing the need for real-life, visible role models and how we all have a significant role to play in shaping our future for the LGBT+ community.
The evening ended with the annual Building Equality Greater Manchester Awards, where we recognise the work of our individuals and organisations who make all this amazing work happen. The evening raised over £400 for LGBT History Month, which will ensure they can continue their great work and that we can all claim our past, celebrate our present and create our future.