Jessica Loney knows what it’s like to put a brave face on every day.

As a trans woman working in the construction industry, Loney knows a thing or two about hate.

“When I came out, there was a lot of backlash,” says Loney.

“I had people messing with my equipment, graffiti, destroying the bathroom I used and putting screws in my tires. Eventually, I just got really tired of it and I threw it back in everyone’s faces.”

In 2020, Loney created Pride in Construction to uplift and empower LGBTQ2S+ and female voices in the industry. The movement heard from under-represented voices in the construction industry not just in Alberta but in Europe, South America, Africa and even Australia.

Nominator Heather Harke says the struggle to accept and love oneself is one that women all relate to, but Loney’s journey has been a rollercoaster as she learns to love herself with the hate that surrounds her.

“I can’t imagine what that is like, living each day in our city and working at her various job sites, always wondering if she will be safe,” says Harke.

“With strangers threatening violence against her, just because she wants to be her true self. Living with the trans hate and bigotry toward her, and still moving forward with her transitions and changes, is both beautiful and beyond courageous.”