This summer, AIA New York celebrated the launch of the AIANY LGBTQIA+ Alliance, which took shape over several months and made its formal debut as an AIANY Program Committee during Pride Month. The committee’s inception followed a series of critical conversations between membership and AIANY’s Board of Directors, noting the lack of visibility and advocacy for LGBTQIA+ architects and designers at both the local and national level. Being LGBTQIA+ is not a personal characteristic that is immediately recognized through one’s visible identity. As a result, the community has been overlooked in national research and within the conversations surrounding equity, diversity, and inclusion in architecture. The AIANY LGBTQIA+ Alliance endeavors to correct this absence and advocates for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, plus other sexual and gender marginalized communities within the architecture profession by creating space to build community, host events and discussions, and foster diversity and inclusion within our profession and organization, both in the city and state of New York.
“For me, visibility is such a critical component to creating dialogue and advancements for the LGBTQIA+ community,” says Matthew Ferraro, AIA, co-founder and co-chair of the committee. “Despite marked improvements in recent years, there is still a false assumption that architecture is a LGBTQIA-friendly profession,” he adds. “As architects, we interface with a myriad of different individuals, from colleagues, to clients, consultants, contractors, manufacturers, donors, city officials, and many others. Knowing that implicit biases exist creates hesitation in practicing openly. With this new committee, we hope to create a forum for all members of the community in architecture and related fields to come together, share their experiences, and discuss ways to educate and create improvements for LGBTQIA+ professionals.”
“Though not an architect myself, I work with many consultants and design teams though my role with the New York City Economic Development Corporation,” says co-chair Gale Rothstein. “I come to this committee with a primary interest in diversifying the demographics of the LBGTQIA+ in the AEC community, where I see a major underrepresentation of gay women. Starting there, I hope to promote a more inclusive arena across the board, beyond gender, to truly represent the NYC community,” adds Rothstein.
We look forward to welcoming new and existing members and guests this fall! Stay tuned for more details on the LGBTQIA+ Alliance event taking place October 11, 2023, at 6pm on National Coming Out Day, a day of special significance for the community in celebration of visibility and the LGBTQIA civil rights movement.