3 Jul 2017
Policy area: Diversity and Inclusivity
David Mann and Saleem Fazal, Co-Chairs of Freehold, are our guest writers for the Pride Festival. They highlight the importance of LGBT+ support in the real estate industry.
“Happy Pride!” - this is the greeting that will be repeated thousands, if not millions, of times during Pride season this year. And, although Pride is now more often about having fun and celebrating the diversity of the gay community, it is also much, much more serious.
In its very DNA, Pride celebrations around the world say one thing very clearly: WE ARE NOT THERE YET! Despite huge advances in our own country, there are still pockets of direct and indirect homophobia/biphobia/transphobia that continue to blight our national conscience. And then there are the many, many nations of the world where being a gay man or woman is a crime, sometimes punishable by death.
Pride is not only an opportunity to celebrate personal liberties but also where those organisations and companies making genuine efforts to be more inclusive can join in the fun. Banks and retailers are well-represented, a good smattering of law firms, some big names in accountancy and, much more recently, some of the big names in real estate, not least JLL, CBRE, RICS and, of course, Freehold.
It’s true to say that our own sector hasn’t been at the forefront of the diversity agenda but things are changing and the pace of change is accelerating. This year we are all marching under the united banner of ‘Changing the face of property’.
Freehold is a support and networking group for LGBT+ real estate professionals. We launched in 2011 and we are now celebrating a membership of well-over 1,000 women and men. It is a particular privilege for us to now be supporting the BPF’s ‘Statement of Principles’ aimed at encouraging more LGBT+ people and other minorities to consider a career in property.
We are not there yet. But we have come a long way. And that’s because so many companies and organisations have stepped up to the plate and said: “Actually, we have LGBT+ people in our offices and we want to support them more.” This is a great place to start and will be life changing for those individuals within your organisation.
So, if your firm needs some extra support or you have LGBT+ team members who could do with a chat, please get in touch. Further details can be obtained via Freehold's website.