One of the most important and fundamental rights we have is the freedom of self-expression – to choose who we are, where we live, how we identify ourselves to the world. It goes to things as basic as what clothes we wear, through to of course, who we love.
Sadly, this right hasn’t always been applied to all of us equally. Throughout Pride month we have recognised and celebrated our LGBT+ community, supporting them to achieve the full range of expression the rest of us enjoy.
Over the last couple of decades, great progress has been made. LGBT+ people in increasingly more countries now also have the same rights to love and live as heterosexual people; to enjoy all the normal things in life like getting married, buying a house together, raising their own families, and an equal age of consent.
Changing this culture has been – and continues to be – a difficult journey. From hostility, to marginalisation, to tolerance, and now to acceptance, brave LGBT+ communities and their allies have faced physical brutality, death, marched in the streets, and confronted their employers in the name of equality.
Institutions across society have had to change – and are still changing – to become more accepting of difference. This progress has required more than simply passing new laws or creating new workplace policies. It has required business leaders, professions, employees and employers alike to be part of creating new cultures that are inclusive every day and recognise the value of what difference brings to the workplace.
Beyond sexuality, the global built and natural environments face huge challenges in the years ahead – from tackling rapid urbanisation, achieving carbon neutrality, ensuring we have the resources we all need in navigating the future of work.
RICS supports a global profession dedicated to tackling these challenges and transforming communities and people’s lives via a functioning built and natural environment. To achieve this, we need to embrace new thinking and new ideas and thought. Diversity will be more critical than ever.
It is therefore our mission to ensure anyone – regardless of race, social background, faith, gender or sexuality – can join the surveying profession to ensuring a great future for all people and the places they live, work and play in.
Across the board, as an organisation, I am incredibly proud that RICS is continuing to focus on diversity of all kinds – from social background and sexuality, to gender, ethnicity, physical and mental ability and beyond. There’s still a long way to go in so many areas, but I am confident we are heading in the right direction and importantly recognise the need and challenge.
I would like us all to have a renewed sense of the value of humanity and what can be achieved when we all feel comfortable in being part of advancing it. The power of people is unstoppable when we all face in the right direction and recognise each other’s contribution.