Pride Month is a time to celebrate the rich tapestry of identities that make up our vibrant LGBTQ+ community. It’s a period for reflection, unity, and action towards equality for all, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.

My journey in Diversity & Inclusion started in a very multicultural school and moved to a mainly white all-girls school with a wide variety of derogatory language about girls who liked girls. This was during the time of Section 28 when schools were banned from teaching LGBTQ+ topics. I studied for a civil engineering degree amongst a tiny minority of women and have spent much of my career in the engineering and construction industry. I have family members with disabilities, I live with depression and anxiety, and I’m perimenopausal. I’m also a proud Mancunian and very aware of the North-South divide. To top it off, my therapist informed me last week that she’s fairly sure I am neurodiverse and should think about getting an assessment – so there’s that too!

While it might be said that these experiences are character-building, all of them bring challenges. I often have to dig deep into my resilience reserves, and I know I’m not alone in that. As co-chair of the Mott MacDonald LGBTQ+ affinity group, I lead our work to drive inclusion across the business. Our vision is that we celebrate diversity and inclusion and support our colleagues to flourish and live healthy and fulfilling lives. Our objectives include engaging all colleagues in LGBTQ+ inclusion, supporting the mental health and wellbeing of our LGBTQ+ colleagues, embedding LGBTQ+ inclusion in our policies and workplace culture, and collaborating with external parties to support LGBTQ+ inclusion across our industry.

Our senior leadership team are super supportive of our work, and I’m always thrilled to see any of them wearing their rainbow lanyards – true visible leadership! Kezia Dugdale, the former Scottish Labour leader, recently explained: “To wear a lanyard like this, it’s not a political sign, it’s a welcome sign, it’s about saying to people there are other people like you here and you’re welcome.”

Speaking of external partners, I’m also co-chair of the Greater Manchester Committee of Building Equality, an alliance of over 70 companies who are passionate about working together and harnessing our collective power to drive LGBTQ+ inclusion in the industry. In addition to Mott MacDonald, other firms that are also MCA members include Arup, Amey, Arcadis, AtkinsRealis, and Stantec. We organise educational networking events and create free resources.

Manchester Pride is the highlight of our year, and we march behind our iconic rainbow JCB, showing the world that the perception of the construction industry – dominated by white, straight, cisgender, men in hard hats and muddy boots – is outdated and we are welcoming to all. We’re proud to work with a number of LGBTQ+ charities including Sparkle, LGBT Foundation, AKT, and George House Trust.

The MCA champions diversity and inclusion within the consulting sector. As a member of the Diversity and Inclusion Working Group, we are dedicated to making every stage of a consulting career accessible – from attracting diverse talent to fostering an inclusive environment within the consulting industry – to create a more accessible and inclusive career path for all consultants. We recognise the importance of representation and the value of diverse perspectives in driving innovation and excellence. We share best practice, collaborate on industry-wide initiatives, and our Diversity & Inclusion Toolkit guides member firms in their D&I strategies. By focusing on data and setting ambitious targets, we’re accelerating positive change.

Pride has become a global phenomenon, with towns and cities across the world hosting colourful parades, mayors marching alongside drag queens, and international brands flying the rainbow flag in solidarity. It’s important to remember, though, that Pride isn’t just a celebration; it’s also a protest and time to reflect on the adversity the LGBTQ+ community has faced. The origins of Pride in the 1960s with the Compton’s Cafeteria Riots and then the Stonewall Riots were a turning point in the fight for gay rights in a time of oppression and discrimination and ignited a movement that would change the course of history.

Many firms change their logos to rainbow versions during Pride month. While seeing these on branding, advertising, merchandise, and social media brings a sense of joy and celebration, we need to be mindful of corporate rainbow-washing. The practice of using rainbow-themed symbolism ostensibly to support the LGBTQ+ community but without actively standing up for LGBTQ+ identities or rights is prevalent in business. Essentially, it’s a superficial way for companies to appear inclusive without taking any meaningful action to support the LGBTQ+ community.

What can firms do to promote LGBTQ+ inclusion?

• Establish and support an LGBTQ+ affinity group.
• Celebrate and educate on LGBTQ+ inclusion all year round.
• Adopt and support inclusive recruitment practices.
• Ensure policies and processes are inclusive, including gender neutral language.
• Read and take note of the MCA Diversity & Inclusion Toolkits.

What can we, as individuals, do to support our LGBTQ+ friends and colleagues?

• Demonstrate support – wear a rainbow lanyard and a pronouns badge.
• Celebrate intersectionality – many people have complex identities and can face layers of discrimination.
• Amplify voices – be willing to listen to people’s experiences and challenges.
• Develop a thirst for knowledge – read, watch, and listen to educational resources
• Be mindful of your language – I describe myself as a queer woman and as part of the queer community, but words matter, and some people still find this a challenging one.

As we celebrate Pride Month, let us unite in the spirit of inclusion and harness our collective power to forge a path of progress. The MCA stands tall in its commitment to initiatives that foster understanding, acceptance, and respect within the vibrant tapestry of the LGBTQ+ community. This is a time to ignite inspiration, catalyse change, and etch a lasting impact on the canvas of equality as a beacon that draws communities closer, affirms individuality, and champions advancement. We call upon everyone to cherish diversity and actively engage in shaping a world where authenticity is celebrated. By contributing our voices and efforts, we can construct a brighter, more inclusive future for all. Let’s make this Pride Month not just a moment, but a movement that resonates throughout the year.

Happy Pride! 🌈


Lynne Hamilton, Mott MacDonald Management Consultant, Advisory
Pronouns: She/They