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Conceptualising work as a ‘safe space’ for negotiating LGBT identities: navigating careers in the construction sector

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journal contribution
posted on 05.09.2022, 10:11 authored by Sarah BarnardSarah Barnard, Andrew Dainty, Sian Lewis, Andreas Culora
Despite sustained focus in recent years on understanding the experiences of underrepresented groups in construction, there has been a paucity of work that has explored the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) workers. Research has shown homophobia is commonplace in the construction industry and very few gay employees feel able to be open about their sexuality. Using qualitative data garnered from 16 in-depth interviews and a focus group with LGBT workers in the UK construction sector, this article analyses how participants negotiate identities at work and navigate their careers. Drawing on the concept of heteronormativity we consider how organizational contexts frame, constrict and liberate identities in the workplace. Significantly, our findings show that despite enduring heteronormative structures, work was described by participants as a ‘safe space’. By demonstrating how workers assess, move between and create ‘safe spaces’, this article contributes novel insights into the challenging of heteronormativity in heteronormative work contexts.

Funding

Bowen Jenkins Legacy Research Fund of the Chartered Institute of Building

History

School

  • Business and Economics

Department

  • Business

Published in

Work, Employment and Society

Publisher

SAGE Publications

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© The Authors

Publisher statement

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/) which permits any use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access pages (https://us.sagepub.com/en-us/nam/open-access-at-sage).

Acceptance date

21/02/2022

Publication date

2022-08-29

Copyright date

2022

ISSN

0950-0170

eISSN

1469-8722

Language

en

Depositor

Dr Sarah Barnard. Deposit date: 17 March 2022