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Respect LGBTQ+ Network | Manchester, UK

The Respect network have existed for over 15 years, with the aim of creating a safer workplace for all LGBTQ+ colleagues, no matter their gender identity, trans status or sexual orientation. The network is operated by a number of colleagues who volunteer their time, in addition to their roles, and who represent the diverse backgrounds, experiences and identities which make up our colleague population. The network currently has over 500 active members, with over 11,000 followers on our social media platforms.

A lot of what the network does is to help educate the wider business on the history of the LGBTQ+ community and issues affecting us today. In addition to this, the network acts as the voice for LGBTQ+ colleagues in driving positive changes to policies and procedures, whilst working with external partners to help achieve our inclusion and diversity agenda.

Respect and the Co-op have a proud and longstanding history of supporting our LGBTQ+ colleagues and the wider community, which has included us championing equal rights – we were the only retailer to speak in Parliament in support of the Equal Marriage Bill. This support also extends to the network being able to celebrate every event on the LGBTQ+ calendar to the wider business, as well as other activities which help to promote LGBTQ+ inclusivity.

The network has started to collaborate with many other companies to help them shape their own pride networks and to collaborate on key events, which are aimed at creating a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community within the wider retail sector.