“Would you be interested in contributing to a book we’re working on?”

A colleague in DC popped that question during a phone call this past January. We had been discussing the AIA Dallas LGBTQIA+ Alliance’s upcoming drag stage contest, and this slipped in as a “by-the-way” moment in our conversation.

She and four others had begun discussions last fall about creating a collection of stories from out, queer architects – a first in architecture publishing. Sure, we’re great at talking about buildings and design, but no one had thought to focus on the queer architects contributing to their communities, including architecture, in a myriad of ways. And because she knew of what I was doing currently and had done in the past, my name bubbled to the surface. I am, after all, The Big Gay Architect.

I also suspect she and the other editors were wracking their brains to create a list of queer architects that were out and might be willing to be really out, particularly in a profession that tends to lean conservative. While we are here and queer, we aren’t always visible. We don’t always see ourselves reflected in firms and organizations. This was an opportunity to connect queer architects, assuming the editors could find them.

Fast forward to October and 24 queer architects later, and what started as an idea has become reality. Out in Architecture drops October 11th for sale as a book or an e-book. (Shameless plug, I know. But you can order here!)

For this queer architect, I was honored to just be nominated. Or in this case to be asked, particularly because I couldn’t figure out what story I could possibly contribute. Even though I had been blogging since 2016 and had been giving presentations around being queer in architecture, I didn’t see myself having much to contribute. Except everyone has a story to tell. At least 24 of us to start.

And I say “to start” because even on the first phone call, you could hear people talking about other architects who might be a fit for the book. Not everyone mentioned is represented in this edition. However, there is now a running list when the time comes to curate the next volume of stories.

Thank you to Yiselle, Beau, Sarah, Amy, and A.L. for thinking this was a good idea from the get-go. And for asking me and the other authors to contribute. We all know what you have invested in moving this from thought to reality. The endless hours editing. Creating graphics and formatting for the book. Dealing with 24 separate egos and providing the guidance we needed. And a big shout out to the other architects who gave their time in the creation of the book.

Seeing everything come together has been a great experience. In addition, having the opportunity to read everyone else’s contributions and seeing a part of yourself in each story has been the other part of what makes this great. At least for me. Yes, each story and author are unique, but we are all connected by the queer experience. By being outside of what is the norm for the architecture industry. By being Out in Architecture.