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First ever industry-wide survey of attitudes to sexuality launched

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The AJ, working with sister publications Construction News and New Civil Engineer, is leading the first ever survey of attitudes to sexuality across the construction sector

The survey is open to straight as well as gay, bi-sexual and lesbian employees in an attempt to compile a truly comprehensive pan-industry report which will be published later this year.

The investigation follows the AJ’s ground-breaking report into the experiences of lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) architects in 2013, which found that almost half of all LGB employees had heard offensive comments relating to sexuality in the workplace (see AJ 11.07.13).

One in five reported direct experiences of homophobia.

Although many gay architects reported positive experiences in practice, with 74 per cent saying they felt comfortable being ‘out’ among colleagues in practice, this fell significantly in other parts of the industry, with only 16 per cent feeling comfortable being open about sexuality when on construction sites.

Anecdotal evidence of conservative attitudes across the industry, together with concerns from leading gay rights charity Stonewall that not a single built environment-related organisation features on its index of leading gay-friendly employers has led the AJ to launch this industry-wide fact-finding survey.

Chris Edwards, who joined Stonewall as client manager after six years at CABE said: ‘Construction historically isn’t a particularly diverse sector and can often be perceived as a bastion of male homophobia and sexism. Evidence from the AJ’s survey in 2013 seems to affirm this perception, but we should always recognise the good work that employers are doing in this area to help change those preconceptions.’

He added: ‘The fact that 48 per cent of LGB architects have witnessed homophobic banter at work is a troubling statistic. Additionally, the fact that 87 per cent wouldn’t feel comfortable in challenging homophobic language clearly demonstrates there is more work to be done.’

To take part in the survey, please click here

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