By Amanda Johnson, Inclusion Advisor

Pride is one of my favourite times of year and this summer has been an incredible couple of months, packed with #PrideInCoop celebrations.

What I loved most is how everyone came together to celebrate love, life and each other. It’s such a special time where people from many different backgrounds, cultures and identities join up and celebrate one another and how far we’ve come.

Over the summer, Co-op joined Pride events up and down the UK, including Brighton, London, Bristol, Newcastle, Glasgow, Cardiff and Manchester, bringing colleagues together to celebrate all things Pride!

 The Manchester Pride parade

This is the second year I’ve been involved in organising our Manchester Pride parade entry. I worked closely alongside Nicky Wild from our Trade Planning team, and Ben Brosnan who’s co-chair of our Respect colleague network.

There’s so much involvement in making the day a success, from arranging licence applications, to rallying round volunteers to proudly march with us, and ordering Co-op goodies to hand out. But the hard work paid off, I’m so pleased that this year’s Prides have been so successful.

Being part of the parade with my daughter was particularly special. We were both filled with emotion seeing how many people lined the streets of Manchester to support the LGBT+ community. It was truly amazing.

I felt so much love and pride for all of my colleagues, friends and the millions of people who deserve to be proud of who they are.

LGBT+ rights movement

Pride is always important to us, but this year was particularly important as it’s the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. In June 1969, after years of oppression and mistreatment, LGBT+ people stood up against discrimination and so began the LGBT+ rights movement.

We must remember that being in a same sex relationship is still illegal in 72 countries and punishable by death in eight of those. This is why celebrating Pride together, loud and proud, must continue.

Being a straight ally to the LGBT+ community

We still have a long way to go for equality. As a proud straight ally to the LGBT+ community, I want to reinforce the importance of inclusion, and remind everyone that acceptance and spreading kindness helps build a better and more equal world for everyone.

And if you feel as passionate about LGBT+ equality as I do, I hope you’ll spend a few minutes to take part in our Stonewall Workplace Equality Index survey and share your thoughts on LGBT+ equality in Co-op – just enter the code 1621 to take part.

Join the conversation! 6 Comments

  1. Brilliant article Amanda it is a great read very well written.

  2. Great read Amanda and I love that this article highlights that us straight allies can get involved too which in turn helps raise awareness and supports equality, love is love.

  3. Excellent article! I didn’t know much about the history of the LGBT movement so thank you for sharing that, looks like you all had a fantastic day, I would love to join you for next years march

  4. Fantastic Amanda and very well said!!

  5. What a great read. It’s so important for us all to be reminded what this beautiful event is all about and why it’s still needed in the world we live in. Our bubble of safety and inclusion hangs in a delicate balance and should be celebrated and protected. It’s so sad (well a downright disgrace) to read about the sad things that happen around the world and only love and showing people there is another way will win through. Well done Amanda and the Coop. Hope this attitude and action grows.

  6. It’s always nice to see visibility of people who are not just ‘tolerant’, but strongly aligned to the fight for equal rights for the LGBTQ+ community. Whilst things are so much better here in the UK, the article highlights correctly that the same cannot be said for other countries. I still don’t understand why anyone would want to block or hinder others from being happy and living life as their true selves, but that’s the problem with ignorance and hate; it never makes any sense.
    I did have to chuckle a little to myself though when I saw all the shop fronts in Manchester waving rainbow flags last month. It’s a far cry to how PRIDE was received years ago. I had to ask myself what are these companies actually doing for the cause other than putting rainbow signage in their windows? But at least with Co-op we can say our support has ensured for many many years, before it was trendy to be be an ally. Fab article.

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