The COVID 19 pandemic has fostered a greater community spirit across the UK with people stepping up to support those in isolation and boost the spirits of their neighbours. Yet, despite these acts of togetherness, many people especially those within the LGBT+ community still feel isolated due to Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia. Recently, I saw an incident involving two gay men in my hometown, which highlighted to me that although attitudes have changed dramatically during my lifetime, there is so much more we need to do to help support LGBT+ people and promote greater equality.

 

I would be the first person to admit, that I need to do more to improve my knowledge about the LGBT+ community and the challenges they face.  Growing up in the 1970s/80s my friends and family never talked about people who identified as  LGBT+ and I do not know how I would have reacted if one of my childhood friends or rugby teammates had come out to me as gay. Over the years, my attitudes have changed but, to be honest, I still find it hard to have a frank discussion with my LGBT+ friends and colleagues for fear of saying the wrong thing.

My teenage niece has no such issue and has many friends who define their identity in different ways. Her generation has grown up in an era where people tend to feel more able to discuss LGBT+ issues and celebrities such as Miley Cyrus, Sam Smith and Cara Delevingne have helped to pave the way with their openness about their own sexuality and gender identity.

Learning from my niece’s experience, I believe that having the ability to create a space where people can be open and talk about their issues and challenges is key to promoting greater equality and inclusion. As a straight white man is his 50’s I will never know what it’s like to be a gay or a transgender man for example, but I do know how important it is to feel like people respect and acknowledge my experiences and individual needs. That’s why I think it is vital that we provide opportunities for everyone to come together and share without the fear of judgement.

Within the construction industry, we have made great strides to ensure that everyone regardless of their background, gender or sexual orientation can feel welcome and realise their full potential. As a member of Building Equality, BAM is actively involved in fostering greater collaboration and engagement to help staff understand how we can better support LGBT+ people within the workplace. This includes events, which encourage a wider discussion about LGBT+ issues and how we can all make a positive change.

BAM staff have been sharing what #Pride means to them

BAM is actively supporting this through our LGBT+ Employee Resource Group, by working with Building Equality, attending events such as Pride and encouraging staff to get involved in these, as well as through visibly supporting diversity and inclusion on our site hoarding imagery.

Finally, as we head out of lockdown and look towards the future, I firmly believe that we must not return to our old ways. Instead, we need to learn from our experience to create a more inclusive society and put an end to inequality.  No one should feel excluded and I encourage everyone who reads this blog to identify ways that they can engage with people from other communities, so that we can all stand together to create a country where everyone is free to be themselves.  

Memories from previous years Pride

About the author

Jason Reed

Director - BAM Plant

Jason was appointed as Director of BAM Plant in 2015 and is responsible for the management and development of our in house plant operation.

He originally joined the company in 1986 as an apprentice electrician. After a period away working in the electrical and service engineering sector, he re-joined BAM in 2007 and progressed through a number of roles from Electrical Contracts Manager to General Manager.

With over 20 years’ experience working in the construction industry, Jason brings sound technical knowledge and business acumen to ensure BAM Plant provides a high quality, competitive  support service to all of our sites, and leverages best value and innovation from our strong supply chain.

“My team collaborates with BAM sites and offices to provide the safest, most innovative and effective plant, and site services solutions. As an in-house one-stop-shop for all plant and equipment needs, we ensure site teams can focus on delivering high quality buildings for our clients.”

Read more articles from Jason Reed