We are at the end of Pride for 2020.
In all fairness we are proud year-round, but it is now the end of Pride month. To say this year was more unusual than most is an understatement. Especially coming off the fanfare surrounding last year’s 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots.
And while we couldn’t get together in person, we were able to celebrate Pride across the globe virtually. Was there any major city that didn’t have a virtual pride? I know our friend Candy Samples helps host Queens Pride in New York, and this year was no different. Except she was able to host from her apartment.
As for me, with the pandemic going on, I was certainly not planning on participating in anything Pride related. I wasn’t even sure I had anything to be proud of this year. The Supreme Court came though for the queer community once again – yay! – but even that did not feel like much.
Imagine my surprise then when I was asked to participate in a Pride Happy Hour for the Dallas office of Perkins + Will, one of the largest architecture firms in the US. More surprising was to discover that for the last two years they had received a 100% score on the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index in an industry known more for progressive design than progressive diversity and inclusion policies.
If you’re a regular (or irregular) reader of my blog, you know I write about architecture from a queer perspective. Sometimes more queer than others. But I don’t know how I would separate the queer from architecture. This also extends to what I share at conferences.
So would I be interested in participating? Yes please! And unlike past panel presentations, I could have a glass of wine. Or two.
I was excited to talk with a younger generation of queer architects and share my experience, including what designers can do to help the queer community and where, as an industry, we need to grow to be more inclusive. But even better were the questions coming from the participants. My favorite was how straight architects could be allies and do they approach participation as architects or as advocates for social change. Short answer – advocates. What you do doesn’t have to focus on design.
As usual, I think I was the only gay architect on the panel. And consequently spent my time answering most of the Q&A. Oops!
However, at the end of the day, and the end of the month, being able to share what I do know and what my experience has been did give me something to be proud of this Pride. Hopefully next year we’ll be able to celebrate Pride in person.