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Andrew Torres: Empowering LGBTQ+ Inclusion in Building Design and Construction

Andrew Torres: Empowering LGBTQ+ Inclusion in Building Design and Construction

Ladderworks is a publishing platform of diverse picture books and online curriculum with the mission to empower over a million kids to become social entrepreneurs. Our current series features interviews by our interplanetary journalist Spiffy with inspiring Social Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders, and Changemakers who are advancing the UN SDGs.

Spiffy here with the scoop on the entrepreneurial leaders of Planet Earth. As the only interplanetary journalist stationed on this blue planet, I’m thrilled to present this galactic exclusive with Andrew Torres, the president of Build Out Alliance. Let’s learn what’s happening at Build Out Alliance and how Andrew is making a positive impact in the world.

Spiffy: Hi Andrew, thanks a million for talking to me today. Tell me, what challenge are you addressing through Build Out Alliance?

Andrew: Thanks for having me, Spiffy! Build Out Alliance is dedicated to promoting and advocating for the LGBTQ+ community within the building design and construction industry, an industry that is often not the most inclusive or welcoming place for us. We do this through our professional programming, our social events, and our outreach and advocacy work. But as a broader community, we do this as out and visible professionals and leaders in our various fields. Visibility and representation matter, now more than ever.

Spiffy: What motivates you to do it?

Andrew: For me, as an architect and an out gay man, the mission of Build Out Alliance is deeply personal. It is squarely involved in work that impacts my life, both professionally and personally. And when I see the enthusiasm and excitement of our participants, the joy at finding an organization and a community that welcomes them, I know all the hard work is worth it.

Spiffy: What is the impact of your work?

Andrew: Build Out Alliance promotes and advocate for LGBTQ+ individuals throughout the building design and construction industry, providing support and resources to our community. We strive to make the entire building design and construction industry more welcoming to all people. We represent professionals from across the building design and construction industry, from architecture to engineering to construction as well as many allied fields. We envision an industry where inclusion is valued universally, and where LGBTQ+ people have equal opportunities and work openly with pride. While much progress has been made toward greater inclusivity within the industry, there is still much work to be done.

Spiffy: Tell me about a recent organization milestone or initiative. What impact does it make on your audience/community?

Andrew: This June, Build Out Alliance participated in pride marches in three major cities: New York City, Los Angeles, and San Francisco, as well as in Brooklyn and Queens, New York. This marked our first year marching in Los Angeles and San Francisco with our newly formed California groups, and a return to Queens, one of the most multicultural places in the world.

Spiffy: Thanks for speaking with me today, Andrew—it’s been an honor!

Andrew is a licensed architect working in New York City. Andrew grew up in the Midwest and received his AB from Harvard University and his MArch from the University of Texas. He has been in New York since 2008, with interludes in Bahrain and Puerto Rico, and currently lives in Brooklyn. (First published on the Ladderworks website on August 25, 2023.)

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect those of Ladderworks LLC.

© 2023 Ladderworks LLC. Edited by Shikha Tandon. Spiffy’s illustration by Shreyas Navare. For the Ladderworks digital curriculum to help K-3 kids advance the UN SDGs, visit Spiffy's Launchpad: Creative Entrepreneurship Workshops for K-3 Kids and their caregivers here.