Construction and the LGBTQ Community

By Lynn Pearcey, MBA, Copywriter, AIA Contract Documents

June 17, 2024

The LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer) community has made great strides in their quest to become a recognized asset to the corporate community. With each passing year, staffs of all sizes continue becoming receptive to the notion that lifestyle choices aren’t workplace violations and synergies can exist despite those differences. But while progress is being made, not all silos of domestic economy have been as welcoming of the ideals that form this growing faction of America, and construction stands at the front of that line.

Research shows that a staggering 98% of professionals working in the construction industry identify as heterosexual. In a nation where roughly 7% of the population openly claim to be members of the LGBTQ community, it’s clear that the stigmas surrounding construction, specifically being an industry dominated by men, is preventing workers from identify with this group.

In office environments where ears, eyes, and protocols are present, the mood toward LGBTQ members is accommodating. But when the setting changes to the field where the actual work is being done, and the majority of the stigmas reside, things change. Decorum that governed conversations, thoughts, and actions, become less prevalent, leading to a less than ideal work environment for all parties.

So, how can the construction industry overcome the challenge of building an inclusive workplace that welcomes members of the LGBTQ community?

  1. Build Policies That Travel: It’s one thing to have and enforce a policy of inclusion in a small office setting. But the real test for the construction industry is building mechanisms that travel outside the office and travel contractors and other participating professionals to the actual worksite.
  2. Speak the Language: Words have power and building a brand that uses words that are inclusive of the LGBTQ community is a must. They’re people, they matter, so building a language and culture of words that values their existence is a critical step in the embracement process.
  3. Educate the Staff: Sometimes, non-LGBTQ staff members simply don’t know how to approach or manage the challenges that come with co-existing with their LGBTQ teammates. This is especially true in construction field operations where male egos have historically ruled the setting. With that, firms should provide sensitivity training programs that help all levels of the organization understand how to mix with this growing segment and the value this process brings to the firm.
  4. Highlight LGBTQ in Hiring Practices: Firms who want to be seen as leaders in the move to hire LGBTQ talent should make sure their efforts show in their hiring practices. These practices must include home office and field operations where governance and adherence to the established principles and policies has a history of becoming lax.
  5. Make Training an Ongoing Process:  The mistake that many organizations make when it comes to creating LGBTQ training programs is thinking in a one-size-fits-all box. In reality, this group is evolving just like every other sector of the world, meaning the programs designed to embrace them should do the same. Organizations must begin viewing LGBTQ programs as living, constantly evolving components of their business model to yield consistent value from their efforts.


The LGBTQ community is a growing, talented segment of the global economy, and they deserve the opportunity to purse the profession of their choosing, including construction. As the industry moves forward, developing programs that embrace the differences of employees, regardless of their lifestyle choices, will heighten the success of individuals comprising it and the firms that provide them with professional opportunities.

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AIA Contract Documents has provided this article for general informational purposes only. The information provided is not legal opinion or legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship of any kind. This article is also not intended to provide guidance as to how project parties should interpret their specific contracts or resolve contract disputes, as those decisions will need to be made in consultation with legal counsel, insurance counsel, and other professionals, and based upon a multitude of factors.