Built Environment

The built environment conveys an organization’s culture, values, and priorities. From its geographic location to its facility layout, the physical character of our service sites can facilitate a sense of belonging or exclusion. Physical spaces that indicate gender segregation, such as in bathrooms or shelters, can also pose significant barriers to access and safety for some LGBTQ people.

Changing the built environment may seem difficult, daunting, or costly. However, simple and low-cost alterations can often have a meaningful impact on the accessibility of services and the workplace environment. Starting a conversation about how the built environment affects our work and who we serve can help providers and organizations in building the momentum needed for change.

Questions To Ask

  • What values are conveyed by the organization’s facilities?
  • Is a commitment to LGBTQ access reflected in the built environment?
  • Does the building include any gender-segregated spaces? (restrooms, shelter, etc.)? Does the organization equitably accommodate people of all genders?
  • Is there an organizational plan to address physical access needs for people with disabilities? People who have experienced trauma?
  • Is the organization accessible by public transportation?
  • Is the organization difficult to get to for the people we serve?
  • Do offices / workspaces layouts reinforce organizational hierarchies?
  • What might be some of the other physical or geographic barriers to LGBTQ access?