In today's 'Meet the Team' celebrating Pride Month, we hear from Pamela McClure, Regional People Advisor
In the construction industry, what issues do you think the LGBTQ+ community struggle with the most?
I think that some of the biggest problems that people who identify as LGBTQ+ face in the construction industry are not feeling safe enough to be their true selves on the job for fear that they will not be accepted or harassed and feeling like being LGBTQ+ is holding them back in their careers. I read a survey that found that more than half of LGBTQ+ workers in construction don’t feel comfortable being out at work and almost a third have experienced some form of abuse because of their identity. I think its time to realise that how you identify doesn’t affect your ability to perform in the workplace
How do you celebrate Pride?
Pride is a time to raise awareness and unite people in the spirit of inclusivity. It’s a chance to reflect on the progress that’s been made but also a chance to acknowledge that there’s still more to be done. Every year, my friends and I celebrate with one friend who has had a tough transition and lost touch with many family members. We show our support by attending Pride and throwing a party beforehand with decorations, rainbow flags, special cocktails, and the freedom to dress however we want. It’s a time for us to reflect on how far our friend has come
What do you think people can do this Pride Month to raise awareness?
There are many ways to support the LGBTQ+ community, and the best approach will vary for each person. One way to show support is by learning about the history and background of LGBTQ+ issues to better understand the social struggles that people have faced and continue to face. While there are plenty of books, articles, and documentaries etc. on the subject, personally I’ve found that I have learned more by reaching out to people who are willing to share their experiences.
I’d also recommend that people look out for any LGBTQ+ events or conversations on social media. It’s a great way to show support by commenting, sharing, and defending their cause. Start a discussion and support their issues. Another way to show support is by being visible - attending Pride events or volunteering with LGBTQ+ organisations are great ways to demonstrate solidarity.
How can companies create inclusive environments for LGBTQ+ employees?
There are so many options that companies can take to create inclusive environments for LGBTQ+ employees. One approach is to implement non-discrimination policies and benefits that specifically include LGBTQ+ workers, focusing on needs that may be relevant to them. Another is to offer awareness training that incorporates realistic scenarios reflecting the issues faced by the LGBTQ+ community. Companies should also be mindful of the language used in their documents and communications, striving to use inclusive language and respecting individuals’ pronoun preferences. Additionally, colleagues can be encouraged to act as allies by speaking out against discrimination and advocating for LGBTQ+ rights.
Who are some of your LGBTQ+ role models?
Tom Daley stands out to me as a strong LGBTQ+ role model. In the sporting industry, it can be difficult to be openly gay, but Tom has always been proud of who he is. As a high-profile athlete, his actions and attitudes have the power to influence others. I always remember something that he has said after one of his wins. He said, “I feel incredibly proud to say that I am a gay man and also an Olympic champion. I hope that any young LGBT person out there can see that no matter how alone you feel right now, you are not alone. You can achieve anything.” I love this, he shows such positivity and what a great message he’s sending to everyone looking to him for support, guidance or inspiration.
How would you sum up Pride in three words?