LGBTQ+ in sight, on site: coming out in construction

During LGBTQ+ History Month, we find out what it’s really like to come out in the construction industry. Pioneer and activist, Christina Riley, Senior Planner at Kier Group, talks to us about her experiences.

The theme of this year’s LGBTQ+ History Month is peace, activism and reconciliation, which will be explored through our 3-part mini-series.

With more than 25 years working in construction, Christina Riley’s personal journey has touched all three.

There are safe spaces for people who need to talk. We’re moving in the right direction.


Since coming out in 2014, Christina has thrown herself into campaigning for LGBTQ+ equality and inclusion in the workplace, with Kier’s support.

“I never expected to be a role model, but I’ve done more than 50 talks to different companies about LGBTQ+ issues,” she says.

“I’m the vice-chair of the LGBT+ and Allies Committee at Kier and I’m on the executive committee of Building Equality, an alliance of company LGBT networks which is driving inclusion in construction.”

“We founded it in 2015 with 4 companies and now we have grown to 25 – showing that construction is changing. It’s great to see construction employees marching with Kier and Building Equality at Pride events across the country.”

Christina’s activism hasn’t gone unrecognised. She was listed number 7 in the Financial Times Outstanding 50 LGBT+ Future Leaders awards 2018, the only person awarded from the construction sector; and she won the Corporate Rising Star Award at the British LGBT Awards in 2017.

“People in construction are thinking about LGBTQ+ issues now. There are networks and support groups, and safe places for people who need to talk. We’re moving in the right direction.”

Look out for LGBTQ+ insight, onsite: Reconciliation, the next part in our LGBTQ+ mini-series.

LGBT in sight, on site: activism
LGBT in sight, on site: activism

Get support

Christina says it’s easier than ever to get support in the sector.

“Come along to LGBTQ+ network events, because there’s plenty going on and they’re safe spaces for LGBTQ+ people in our industry. Certain trades and professions have their own groups too, like InterEngineering for engineers. There’s lots of advice out there and lots of people who can provide support.”

Get inspired

LGBTQ+ mini-series:

Read about LGBTQ+ history in the built environment.

Check out our brilliant #TakeoverTuesday participants on Instagram who offer a glimpse into their working day, including Christina!