Recently I have become more aware of the term rainbow washing, which according to the Urban Dictionary means “The act of using or adding rainbow colours and/or imagery to advertising, apparel, accessories, landmarks… in order to indicate progressive support for LGBTQ equality (and earn consumer credibility)—but with a minimum of effort or pragmatic result”. 

This term really resonated with me, as I believe that it’s not enough to slap a rainbow sticker on something to demonstrate that company is inclusive. Instead, we need to let a company’s actions do the talking. 

With this in mind, I started to think about how BAM was performing. Each June during Pride month, BAM hoists the rainbow flag over its offices and sites, updates its logo on social media and says all the right things. However, once the flags have come down, how are they continuing to support the LGBTQ+ community throughout the rest of the year? 

When we are looking at diversity and inclusion in our workplace, it can sometimes appear that we are making little progress, but that’s not the case. I have been part of BAM Construct’s Proud@BAM Employee Resource Group for four years and while I would be the first to admit that we have been slow to make noticeable changes, we have taken some positive steps. We are now collaborating with the BAM Nuttall’s more established Proud@BAM team, sharing resources, plans and ideas. And, despite the covid pandemic, we have still managed to raise awareness, hold Q&A sessions and create a place where people can find more information. BAM has also attended Pride events in association with Building Equality and has created a confidential email distribution list to enable us to share useful information and events with people. 

Shelley Caton, has been appointed as our new Diversity & Inclusion Director and in the coming months we are looking forward to forming one single UK & Ireland Proud@BAM network, which will bring together LGBTQ+ people and their allies to make BAM a truly inclusive place to work. To support this, we are creating a new Connect (intranet) page and have started the process of reviewing policies to ensure they are as inclusive as possible.

I do believe that BAM genuinely cares about diversity and inclusion and is committed to ensuring that all its employees feel that they can bring their whole selves to the workplace and be supported. I am hoping that this attitude, along with our recent progress will encourage more people to get involved and join the Proud@BAM team, to enable us to transition to a world where Diversity & Inclusion is effortless and part of a company’s culture. 

Pride is an annual reminder of the history of LGBTQ+ people and their families and a celebration of the incredible changes that have been made in through the activism of others. Pride is an international reminder that there are still countries in our world where people are unable to marry the person they love because they are LGBTQ+, where people are criminalised for their sexuality and where being gay is punishable by death. 

A rainbow flag outside a bar or club is a signal that LGBTQ+ people will be welcomed, without judgement and will be in a safe space. The rainbow outside our business should represent the same thing. 

This Pride month, whist hanging rainbow flags and joining in with celebrations, take a moment to think about the actions you can take to stand together with the global LGBTQ+ community, not just for a month, but for 365 days a year. 

About the author

Anya Curley

Office Manager and PA – BAM Plant

Anya joined BAM in January 2014 after working in the finance sector. She is the office manager at BAM Site Solutions and the chair of Proud@BAM our LGBT Employee Forum Group. Anya is also the chair of BAM Site Solutions Sports and Social Club and is involved with the Mentoring Steering Group, Wellbeing and Perform and Develop.

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