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Scottish MP slams RIAS over refusal to publicise AJ survey of lesbian, gay and bisexual architects

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Patrick Harvie sends letter to RIAS secretary Neil Baxter to remonstrate over the organisation’s snub to AJ survey of homophobia in the profession

A Scottish MP has written to RIAS secretary Neil Baxter criticising the body’s decision not to publicise the AJ’s survey of lesbian, gay and bisexual architects and asking the council to consider ‘whether this was the correct decision’.

Green MSP Patrick Harvie’s intervention follows the publication (AJ 11.07.13) of the results of the AJ’s survey and revelations that both the RIAS in Scotland and the RSUA in Northern Ireland had refused to publicise the survey to their members.

Baxter had said that the RIAS council felt the survey was ‘divisive’ and would ‘highlight something that the council felt was not an issue in Scottish practices’.

In his letter, Harvie said he was ‘sorry’ and ‘surprised’ to read about RIAS’s decision.

He added: ‘It seems to me that this survey would have been one small way in which RIAS could have helped to achieve that goal [of combatting homophobia]. The suggestion that the survey itself was divisive, or that the subject it sought to address as “not an issue” seems rather odd.’

Harvie also asked what other measures RIAS’s council was taking to ‘address homophobia and other forms of prejudice’ experienced by architects working in Scotland.

Baxter has agreed to meet with Harvie to discuss the matter further.

The AJ’s online questionnaire showed that Scotland was the least accepting of all the regions, with only 53 per cent of gay architects describing themselves as comfortable being out in the workplace. Rakesh Ramchurn

 

Dear Neil,

I was sorry to read about the RIAS decision not to assist the Architects’ Journal with their survey regarding homophobia experienced by people in the profession. I hope that you will agree this is an important issue which can only be successfully tackled through increased understanding and awareness. It seems to me that this survey would have been one small way in which RIAS could have helped to achieve that goal. The suggestion that the survey itself was divisive, or that the subject it sought to address as “not an issue” seems rather odd, and I was very surprised to read this.

I would respectfully ask that your Council reconsider whether this was the correct decision, and I would also be interested to know what other actions the organisation is taking to understand and address homophobia and other forms of prejudice and discrimination which are experienced by members of the profession in Scotland.

Kind regards,

 

Patrick Harvie MSP
Green Group

 

 

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