In preparation for an upcoming book about being queer in architecture, I began this week pulling up past presentations and blog posts that talked about my own experiences of being a queer architect. Very much a blast from the past kind of feeling. And while talking about queer identity in architecture feels second nature now, at one time I did feel like the only gay in architecture, or at least in Dallas. So much so that I wrote a blog post reflecting that in 2010.

Amazing what has changed since then.

At the time, I knew one other queer architect in Dallas, so I knew I wasn’t alone. However, that there were two of us wasn’t exactly reassuring. Safety in numbers perhaps? I was the only architect, and our firm the only firm, who was a member of the North Texas LGBT Chamber of Commerce. That is still true today. Attendance at the LGBTQ events at the national conference often meant me being the only architect from Dallas and in some instances from Texas.

I just could not figure out where everyone else was. And being the odd man out was just, well, odd.

From an organizational perspective, neither the local, state, or national American Institute of Architects (AIA) had a committee focused on queer issues. On AIA National’s part, they did add sexual orientation to their diversity program, but that’s where any efforts appeared to end. I couldn’t even fathom at the local level being allowed to form a committee much less any other architects being willing to join.

Queer architects just didn’t exist.

Except here we are. And here we’ve been, whether visible or not. I have been out in architecture since the beginning of my first job in the industry. At the time I never would have imagined spending time at conferences talking about that or about what that means. Nor that I would have a blog titled The Big Gay Architect.

Amazing what has changed.

Yesterday at lunch I attended the kick-off meeting for a pop-up drag stage competition organized by the AIA Dallas LGBTQIA+ Alliance, with teams partnering with local drag queens on stage design. Considerably different from past architecture competitions. That AIA Dallas is supporting the Alliance and the contest is a big leap from 2010.

And yes, there is a queer alliance in Dallas. They are one of four in the country, with the newest Alliance recently formed in New York. Following the lunch kick-off, the Dallas Alliance hosted a hybrid panel discussion last night that brought together the four Alliances and architects from across the country. Again, a big leap forward, and not just from a philosophical viewpoint. Who knew 13 years ago we’d have something called Zoom?

So as it turns out, I am not the only gay architect in Dallas. Or anywhere else for that matter based on last night’s participants. I suspected this all along, even in 2010 when I felt like it was just me.

Perhaps that change is a reflection of the younger generation of architects being willing to express their authentic selves at work and in architecture in general. Or our professional organizations accepting that queer architects need a place at the table when talking about challenges and solutions. Or that we’re just tired of being the quiet group in the back, watching architecture pass us by without addressing what is important to us.