By Neil Moffatt (Planning and Delivery Manager) and Liam McCaffrey (Communications Advisor)

The past year has been challenging for everyone. But for members of the LGBTQ+ community, it can be even tougher. While much progress has been made in acceptance and tolerance, there are still many countries where being yourself is dangerous. 

Even in the UK, some of our colleagues will live in homes where they face misunderstanding and even hostility – a situation that can be unbearable when the Government is telling you ‘stay at home’. 

Even those who are ‘out’ and relatively privileged in the community have found themselves missing out on the support they need. In these challenging times, it’s important colleagues feel a sense of community and acceptance in the Co-op. 

That’s why we’ve relaunched our colleague LGBTQ+ magazine, Respect. Take look at it here.

Coming out of lockdown with Pride

Respect Magazine has some amazing highlights in its history and, while it’s been rested for a couple of years, we hope you’ll find it’s back with a bang.

In our June edition, you can catch up with Hollyoaks’ Gabriel Clark. The talented new recruit, who took over the role of Ollie Morgan, talks to us about his new post and his theatre production, which broke new ground in inclusion. 

As it’s Pride month, we delve into the debate about whether it’s a protest or a party with a look at our shared history and comments from our guests. 

Speaking of guests, our very own Jo Whitfield (CEO, Co-op Food and Sponsor of Respect) pops in for a chat, sharing with us her reflections on leading through a pandemic and why the colleague network is so important to her. 

We’re also joined by the legendary Heather Small (singer-songwriter and lead singer of M People) who talks to us about race, fame and the incredible work she does as an ambassador to so many charities.

Making our magazine together

We’re looking for contributors from and beyond our network. Whether that’s interviews, reviews, editorials or anything else you’d like to see included. You can reach out to us at respectlgbt@coop.co.uk

We also want your sneaky snaps at Pride, so make sure you take lots of photos and share them with us for the world (or at least the Co-op) to see.

The magazine will be published twice a year, with our next edition set to land in September 2021. 

We’ll be looking back at your Pride and forward to the LGBT+ IRIS Prize Festival of which, we at the Co-op, are proud to be a tier one partner. 

We’ve also got the hilarious Rosie Jones lined up for an interview as she prepares to launch her first children’s book, The Amazing Edie Eckhart.

Enjoy the magazine and have a happy Pride. 

See you in September.