Celebrating Pride Month with Bruntwood's LGBTQIA+ Network
June is Pride Month! What better way to celebrate than hearing from Bruntwood’s very own LGBTQIA+ Network? Members of the Network share insights on LGBTQIA+ activism and why it’s important to have LGBTQIA+ representation and support in the workplace.
History of LGBTQIA+ Activism
Bruntwood Interior Designer & LGBTQIA+ Network member, Luke Kolbohm says: “Pride Month is an entire month dedicated to uplifting the voices of the LGBTQIA+ community through activism, recognition, education and celebration. We celebrate pride in June to commemorate The Stonewall Uprising, which was one of the first movements that demanded equal rights for the LGBTQIA+ community.
“28th June 1969 marked the start of the Stonewall Riots, in which members of the LGBTQIA+ community reacted to a police raid at the Stonewall Inn in Manhattan, New York. The bar served as a safe space and refuge for the city’s LGBTQIA+ community. At the time, homosexual acts were illegal in almost every state and bars faced getting shut down for serving and hiring LGBTQIA+ individuals. Police raids were not uncommon with arrests and closures being a regular occurrence. However, on this particular night, the community decided to fight back.
“Several days of confrontations and demonstrations followed the events of June 28th that sparked an uprising that acted as a catalyst for real change in the gay rights movement that we now celebrate during Pride Month. Whilst the Stonewall Riots weren’t the beginning of the gay rights movement, it is seen as the global driving force for LGBTQIA+ activism.
“Pride Month gives us an opportunity to take a step back and reflect on the progresses we’ve made towards equality. Whilst great efforts and changes have been made in the 50+ years since the Stonewall riots, LGBTQIA+ individuals still face daily challenges, such as bullying, harassment, discrimination and hate crimes. This is particularly relevant in the UK and our industry. For example, in construction, engineering and the built environment 54% of individuals do not feel comfortable being open about their sexuality and/or gender identity in the workplace. This Pride Month, take some time to listen to and empower LGBTQIA+ individuals.”
The Importance of Supporting LGBTQIA+ Colleagues in the Workplace
Unify Energy Head of Systems and Metering & LGBTQIA+ Network member, Lorna Munkelt says: “In 2018, I started my career with Bruntwood as a contractor. I fell in love with Bruntwood's culture and values and I hung up my contracting hat and became a full-time employee of Unify Energy in 2020.
“The workplace is where we spend the majority of our time, so it should be a place where everybody can meet, grow, learn and feel safe and supported to be their best self. You’d be surprised about how many LGBTQIA+ people aren't open at work for fear of negative or derogatory comments they may receive. So, it was important for us to create a place where everybody — regardless of race, disability, sexual orientation or gender — feels a sense of belonging.
“Bruntwood's LGBTQIA+ Network provides support, understanding and inclusion. It's a place where you can 'bring your whole self', stay connected and be supported, regardless of where you work within Bruntwood.”
At Bruntwood, we want everyone to bring their authentic self to work in order to reach their potential! The work of our LGBTQIA+ Network, along with our D&I Allyship Group, and partnerships with Manchester Pride and Gaydio, are just a few examples of how we amplify and empower a diverse range of voices within Bruntwood and the wider community.
Find out more about our diversity and inclusion at Bruntwood here.