Happy National Coming Out Day!
To celebrate, I wanted to post what I hope is the first of many queer stories in architecture. I wanted to talk about my story.
Except I’m not sure I have a story.
Whenever I participate in a panel discussion around equity and diversity, I find myself feeling out of place. That the chunky white guy shouldn’t be sitting up there with women and people of color. To look at me, I am the stereotypical architect – white, cisgender, male, and middle-age.
Which might explain why as other panelists share stories of their struggles within the profession, and sometimes life in general, I feel out of place. Although I am a gay man, my path through architecture has been relatively smooth. The first half of my career I spent working for two smaller, progressive firms (with a short stint at a larger commercial venture). Since then, I’ve been an owner in two different practices, where my queerness did not matter.
I have been lucky.
Not every queer architect can share that experience. When I speak at conferences about the intersection of queer and architecture, I always hear someone else’s story about what they have been through or are going through.
The transgender architect who changed firms only because he felt more comfortable working in a female-led practice. The non-binary architect who was struggling to convince their firm to start adopting pronouns on e-mail addresses. The straight architect worried that her firm would discover her husband was transgender and fire her.
So perhaps that is my story – that I am fortunate enough to hear their stories. That I get to be a sounding board for other queer architects.
That I have an avenue where other people get to hear these stories and be reminded they are not the only queer architect. And that they have stories too.