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News & opinion

22 JUN 2022

Pride 2022: LGBT+ in Facilities Management

Why was the LGBT+ in Facilities Management group created?

The LGBT+ in Facilities Management (FM) network was founded in 2016 with the vision of being a network that engages all our stakeholders in driving fairness, inclusion and respect for LGBT+ people working in the facilities industry organisations. 

Our mission is to collaborate to make the facilities management sector the most attractive, inclusive and supportive industry for the LGBT+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, +) community in the UK and Ireland

The key objectives of the group are:

  • Champion and promote LGBT+ inclusiveness within the FM industry.
  • Change – Improve understanding of the LGBT+ community within the FM industry.
  • Support and encourage our members to thrive and grow.

Everything we do is underpinned by our core values of Fairness, Inclusion & Respect, Support and Be the Change.

What role does the FM sector play in advancing inclusion within the built environment?

The FM sector employs 10% of the working population in the UK, and we have a responsibility to make sure everyone feels included, but unless companies are actively looking at LGBT+ inclusion this will not happen. At LGBT+ in FM we support corporate members with their LGBT+ inclusion, some are further on the journey than others, and we learn from each other. We also provide a supportive environment for LGBT+ colleagues to come along to events and know it is a safe space to be themselves.

What are some of the projects/initiatives you’ve been working on or have delivered?

We have been working on a number of projects including:

  • A transgender guide - to help people understand more about terminology, some of the challenges the trans community face and how we can be good allies.
  • An Inclusive Recruitment guide - which helps companies review their recruitment processes and make them more inclusive to a wider diversity of candidates.
  • A gender neutral toilets guide - with some practical steps that companies can look at to update their facilities.

We are also currently working on an Inclusive Procurement guide with The BSA and Trowers & Hamlins, which we hope will be launched in the next few months. This is focused on diverse supply chains, something which is very important in such a large industry as ours.

What are some of the priorities the built environment can and should be tackling collectively to advance inclusion for LGBTQ+ professionals?

We have to get the basics right. Too often we let people get away with making homophobic or transphobic comments in the work place, this has to stop, and we need allies to support us with addressing this. 

There is still a lack of understanding about the LGBT+ community, and so education is key, but we need people to want to learn more about each other, the more we understand each other, the more empathetic we will be. 

We also need more visible role models, particularly at the higher levels of the industry, to demonstrate being open about your sexuality or your gender identity will not stop you progressing, in fact it might just make you happier, and more likely to succeed.

And finally we need companies to actively put in place strategies to improve their LGBT+ inclusion. At the moment in the built environment we are starting to get an understanding of the importance of diversity and inclusion, but very few companies are putting time and resource into addressing it. Without doing that the industry will not change.