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Respect Magazine : May/June 2014









@CoopRespectLGBT |


№ 27 | May/June 2014

It’s only teardrops

We meet the winner of Eurovision 2013

Emmelie De Forest + Interviews with Eurovision stars Sonia | Johnny Logan | Katrina | Ryan Dolan | Molly Smitten-Downes

PLUS PRIDE | COPENHAGEN | ANGIE BROWN | NO BYSTANDERS | IDAHOBIT + MORE The inclusive lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender 1 email us at (LGBT) network for

Respect Magazine : May/June 2014

stonewall workplace conference manchester 2014 from good to great Discover the latest innovation at the Workplace Conference Manchester 2014 − the must attend event for anyone involved in delivering organisational diversity and inclusion. Go to to book your place and learn how to go from good to great!

Friday 6 June 2014, Palace Hotel, Manchester Supported by

@stonewalluk #EqualAtWork 2 email us at 1

Respect Magazine : May/June 2014

Inside this issue

Welcome to our Respect Magazine. The monthly magazine for the UK’s most LGBT friendly retailer, The Co-operative. It’s another jam packed issue, produced for you by our team of volunteers.


You can expect

The UK’s most active employee LGBT network


International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) takes place every year on 17th May - Page 21 Glamazon - The new club night promises to be a night of divine fabulosity in the heart of Manchester's LGBT Village - Page 43 Stonewall launch their new ‘No Bystanders’ campaign that is sure to get us all thinking. Let’s stand up to bullies! - Page 12 Were you at our Respect social event in March? Your photo may be featured in this very issue - Page 6

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW Outgoing Respect Chair Emmelie de Forest, the Thomas reveals his fondest winner of Eurovision 2013 Respect moments



Plus lots more.

Where will you be showing Eurovision icon Katrina of your pride this Summer? Katrina and The Waves. Walking on sunshine!



Simon and Amelia take us on a Respect tour of Copenhagen

We celebrate 25 years since Sonia burst on to the music scene

8-9 Hot on the heels of her ‘The Voice’ appearance, we meet ‘I’m Gonna Get You’ singer and pride favourite Angie Brown

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So here I am, writing my last ever introduction in my role as Chair of the Respect network after stepping down from the role. I have spent a while thinking about what to write and in doing so, the amount of positive impact the network has had on The Co-operative and the communities we serve has really dawned on me. Unlike a lot of networks around the UK it has not purely offered social, networking and development opportunities for our members. During the last four year we have spearheaded the Groups support of Equal Marriage and support of LGBT events and initiatives all over the UK. In fact, no other UK business has supported more LGBT events and initiatives than The Co-op and I am very proud to have played a role in influencing the business to give this support. We have supported events most other big businesses don’t support and I am delighted that lots of smaller and more isolated events have had our support as these ‘less glam’ and ‘less high profile’ events are often forgotten about as they do not have the budgets for advertising and high profile acts. They are however the events that probably need the most support as in these isolated areas

there is increased homophobia, a higher % of people ‘living in the closet’ and less places to go for support and to meet like minded people. As a founding member of the Respect network Steering Group I have been involved since day one and have seen the network develop into what we see today. I came up with the ‘Respect’ name and brand, and at the time this in itself was a challenge. Getting buy in from the business and brand sign off took some persuading, and time. There had never been anything like Respect in the Group before. How times have changed. We were pioneers in our own right. Over 1,400 employees have become members over the years and an equal number of employees have supported us at our many events all over the UK. We have attended, supported or hosted an impressive 110 events in four years. To say I have sacrificed many evenings, days and weekends would be an understatement but I have really loved being a part of this. When I hear from employees that the reason they chose to apply for a job at The Co-op was because of the network, this really makes me realise the impact of our work.

Intranet articles, a two page feature in an issue of US! Magazine, over 40 Co-op Facebook articles, features on in-store Co-op radio, articles in most business area Weekly Bulletins and other features in Co-op publications and lots of local engagement at LGBT events, lots of employees are still not aware of the Respect network. The revitalised ‘Regional Champion Programme’ and in-store posters will hopefully help change this and I know the Respect team really want to hear from employees in our stores to help them with this work. With over 4,000 outlets we really have a big job on our hands. We have lots to be proud of though with 10,000+ ‘Friends of Respect’ and a great reputation. I have had a great time as part of the Respect team and the people I have worked with over the years have really been exceptional. Thank you to everyone that has supported the network, and me personally, and I wish you all well for the future. Thank you also to everyone that has sent me very kind emails and cards. They really mean a lot.

Here’s to many more years of Respect leading the way. I look forward to being a proud member.

There is still of course lots to do. Despite over 100 LGBT related

Let’s keep connected

Respect Magazine

Twitter - Over 9,400 followers and growing @CoopRespectLGBT

Feedback & Contributions We welcome all feedback about the magazine so please send this our way. And if you’d like to contribute to the magazine, please get in touch too.


I hope you enjoy my final issue

Magazine : May/June 2014 A final introductionRespect from the Chair of the Respect network Thomas Anderson

Thomas Anderson Respect & checkOUT Brand Founder & George House Trust Ambassador @thomasinmanc

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Advertise in Respect If you would like to reach hundreds of people every month and advertise in the Respect Magazine, please get in touch with us. Careers Visit our careers portal at and you'll see why we are ranked highly in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index.

r a e D espect R

Respect Magazine : May/June 2014

We’re here for you for life As soon as everyone in this business realises that ethics and values are an integral part of who we are as a cooperative business the better. The commercial part of our business should support our ethics and values and vice versa. Campaigning on issues such as equal marriage are important as it shows our customers and members the type of business we are, that we care about the issues that effect them and that we will use our time and resources to make people's lives better, we're not just a convenience retailer. We're here for you for LIFE, we're not just a retail business, we are so much more.

In the last month we have received over 60 comments from members and employees of The Co-operative. Here’s a selection of them.

STAR COMMENT: Kids don’t care I have 3 young kids who have 2 uncles who live together and NEVER have they thought that it was in any way strange, it just is! Kids don't care about these things, it's us adults who make the issues and tell them it's 'not normal', 'strange', 'immoral' etc. Any questions they ask I'll answer honestly and if they are gay they'll be in a very enviable position where they'll have people to turn to who can directly relate, and family who love them no matter what! Posted by a Co-op Employee on our Equal Marriage intranet article on 11 April 2014

We are all equal in the eyes of God I understand what you are saying, but as Christians and a Christian country we should embrace all people.

If you don't share our ethics and values, why do you work here?

We are all equal in the eyes of God. We are not here to judge people, but where a wrong is committed we might despise the wrong, but we should always forgive the wrong doer.

Posted by Emily, Co-op Employee on our Equal Marriage intranet article on 10 April 2014

Posted by Sid, Co-op Employee on our Equal Marriage intranet article on 9 April 2014

Join in the conversation on Twitter @CoopRespectLGBT

WHAT WE’VE BEEN UP TO : Some of the Respect team were invited to celebrate iconic gay mag ‘Attitude’s’ 20th birthday. The personal invite was well and truly accepted and the team had a great time. They even met stars including Will Young, Paul O’Grady and Eternal.|Lorinda Robinson, Head of Marketing, for The Co-op Funeralcare was

invited by AVIVA to present about authentically marketing to the LGBT community to their team in York. This follows The Co-op being respected for our authentic approach to marketing. | Respect General Secretary Chris Hanson presented at the Stonewall Workplace Conference in London in early April. His session covered ‘innovation’. Something the Respect network is proud to be renowned for. |And lots more

Say cheese! Some of the Respect team at the Attitude party.

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20 March

Respect May/June2014 2014 Respect Magazine Magazine ::May/June

The first of our new payday events went down a storm. Arranged by Respect’s Events Coordinators Daniel Cheetham and Simon Hunter, over 50 of our members attended the event at Oscar’s bar on Canal St, Manchester. There was lots of new faces too which was great to see. Our guests enjoyed a special ‘Respect Cocktail’ on arrival, popcorn and entertainment from a fabulous piano player who played popular show tunes in the musical themed bar. Than you to everyone that turned up and big thanks to the Oscar’s team for being so great to work with.

Watch out for a Respect event near you!

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Respect Respect Magazine Magazine ::May/June May/June2014 2014

19 Feb



Respect member Deb Wozencraft who is a Co-operative Membership Officer for the West & Mid Wales region recently orgainised The Co-op’s presence at the Welsh Pride History exhibition at the iconic Senedd, Cardiff Bay. The event took place on the 19th February and was put together by Norena Shopland of PrideCymru. We were delighted to be a part of such an important event and we were joined by lots of other organisations, including Stonewall. At the event our Respect banner was proudly on display and the team gave away lots of our Pride related goodies. The team also engaged with visitors to our stand with the Same Sex Hand Holding #SSHHI campaign we have been involved with over the last few months in support of our LGBT brothers and sisters in Russia. We love all the pics that Deb and the team took. We’ve included a selection on this page. It is wonderful seeing our members all over the UK actively getting involved with the network. Thanks Debs!

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Respect Magazine : May/June 2014

We meet

Angie Brown The powerhouse singer who provided the vocals on Bizarre Inc’s two big hits ‘I’m Gonna Get You’ and ‘Took My Love’. A regular at Pride events all over the UK, Angie was most recently on our screens as a contestant on the hit BBC TV show ‘The Voice’ Interview by Daniel Cheetham, Respect Steering Group Member

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Respect Magazine : May/June 2014 I've seen you so many times singing at Pride events around the country and every time it has been an amazing PA. Out of all the gigs you've ever done, what can you say is your ultimate favourite gig of all time? There have been many, many shows and performance's that I have sung at over the years. So it's really hard to pick out one specific gig. I have played Manchester Pride, for many years, I usually opened it all or closed the festival... I would say that. The laugh, the energy and the sheer enthusiasm from my Manchester appreciators.., is next to no other. I'm not sure why, but they do express a really special devotion when it comes to me as an artist. So performing at pride in Manchester is high up on my list as the most memorable gigs ever!

When you're on stage you always manage to get the crowd going. What is the best part of performing to the crowds? Is it the interactions? must be a pretty amazing feeling when they start singing along to your tracks? I never do a show and think it's all about me. Singing shouldn't be all about the Singers ego, they should really bring the audience in to their performance, as much as possible. I love when the audience is singing back to me, and joining in. Singing is liberating so it shouldn't be about just listening to me. When we sing we get a sense of happiness from deep inside our souls. And it feels so good to open up like that, and give of yourself! So I tend to think of my shows as really good sex, if you're having a good time I'm having a good time,

and if I'm having a good time you're having a good time... And because you’re having a good time, I can have an even better time! I think you get my drift!

Most people might not know this one, but you have a bit of a secret talent. When doing your PA's and you start doing a bit of vocal DJing with the track to mix it up! Do you mind explaining what this is for the people who might not know? I have been singing ‘I'm gonna get you’ for over 20 years. So to not get bored I started being creative with the spaces on my tracks or on the breakdowns. I watched various MC's and basically started copying them. Then I watched DJs carefully, and I noticed that when they were scratching and mixing at live festivals and concerts it became really exciting for the audience. So I got some beat boxes to show me where to breed and how I could chop it up or edit a live mix! Then I added some dog barking, after ‘Who let the dogs out’ was a hit. And my audiences loved that even more... They love the wolfing, so much that I get requested to do loads of it, and they all say please sing, but please do lots and lots of barking! I think it makes my performance of very off the wall and most people, thankfully get it, and really enjoy the fact that no two shows will be at the same!

Seeing you back on TV recently singing your hit song seemed to get everyone talking and singing the song again. Tthat must be an amazing feeling to still have such a big hit over 20 years

after it was first released? Being choose to sing on The Voice, was absolutely exhilarating! I wasn't fast tracked in any way, I auditioned with 40,000 people and got called back about six times over the last summer. As I got narrowed down to the last 200 contestants, and the fact that I could be on Saturday night TV in front of millions of became really exciting. As soon as they asked me to sing ‘I'm gonna get you’, I felt this was a great opportunity to remind the public of who sang that song and just how well I could still hit the notes, after all these years. Although no one turned around for me, and everyone has their own reservations as to why they didn't turn around.... I was flattered and honoured when said he had referenced my track to show Fergie, how he wanted her to deliver a powerful vocal. Will also gave me his email address, of course that part was edited out, on the show, as he is not supposed to do that.... But I guess he wants me to get in touch and see if he can work with me outside of the voice. So watch this space! You must have talked

about ‘I’m Gonna Get You’ a million times; do you still get the same feelings from performing it live? I love performing 'I'm gonna get you' it's kind of in my bones, it still excites me. I still get a lot of joy and fun out of people's reactions when they hear it. I still hear it on the radio, and people go a little bananas when they hear it! So if they aren't tired of hearing it, and then I am definitely not tired of singing it!

So how is the calendar looking for the rest of this year. I hope we can see lots of exciting news and events coming this Summer. Where can we see more of you? I have loads lined up for this year already, there's only so many summer weekends available! So since my TV appearance, a lot has happened, lots of gay weddings, parties and festivals along with gay Prides. Plus I got signed up to do some cruises... And a few songwriters have been in touch about collaborating with them on new tracks. So it's go go go! you all know, I'm like a Duracell Bunny..

Finally before you go, can I just ask, can you honestly say you still love your job?

I love my job wholeheartedly! I feel so honoured to be able to keep my career buoyant for so many years with your help thank you.. I know that I have the support of the LGBT community, and I will never forget that. When shows have been slow and things have been tight, my gay audience always step in there and hire me for a show, or a special appearance at their wedding receptions or engagement parties. And at the end of the day every nickle makes a muckle and bills get paid! You guys have single handedly, helped me to survive in a business full of shallow, cutthroat people... I could've been all done straight after that track came out, and finished selling. But I'm still here, and that's thanks to you! I'm happy, that you love your Diva's and you support us whether we are current or not... Now that's true love!!! Xxx

Find out more about Angie at | Follow her on Twitter @RealAngieBrown 9 email us at

Where will you be showing your pride this Summer? Respect Magazine : May/June 2014

The Co-operative is renowned for its authentic support of Pride events the length and breadth of the UK. In fact, we have supported more Pride events tha n any other UK business, almost 100 in total over the yea rs. Here we bring you a summa ry of the events that you may be interested in attending. May





10 May: Exeter Pride

7 June: Oxford Pride

6 July: Essex Pride

24 May: Birmingham Pride

2 Aug: Belfast Pride

14 June: Blackpool Pride

20 Sep: Warrington Pride

11-13 July: Sparkle

2 Aug: Brighton Pride

27 Sep: Preston Pride

14 June: Cumbria Pride

12 July: Bristol Pride

2 Aug: Liverpool Pride

21 June: Pride Scotia, Edinburgh

28 Sep: Sunderland Pride

18 July: Newcastle Pride

10 Aug: Wakefield Pride

21 June: Suffolk Pride

19 July: Glasgow Pride

16 Aug: Doncaster Pride

21 June: York Pride

19 July: Hull Pride

16 Aug: Cardiff Pride

28 June: London Pride

26 July: Oldham Pride

22 - 25 Aug: Manchester Pride

28 June: Sheffield Pride

27 July: Peel Park Pink Picnic, Salford

23 Aug: Cornwall Pride

Get in touch if you’re interested in representing The Co-op at a Pride event!

28 June: Swansea Pride

hing. at time of publis Details correct re ts website befo Check the even making plans!

30 Aug: Reading Pride

10 Follow us on Twitter @CoopRespectLGBT

We’ll be bringing you more info about the many Pride events taking place throughout the UK in future issues of ‘Respect’

Respect Magazine : May/June 2014

Respect at Manchester Pride 2013

We do pride like no other network! A special Respect thank you to George Meudell who founded the LGBT network for The Co-operative in 2010. George will sadly be leaving The Co-operative in June to go on to pastures new. Thank you for your vision and determination. Good luck from everyone in the Respect team. #ThankYou

Upcoming awareness raising


days to pop in your diary

We came out on Co-operative Radio A Respect first. We’ve had Respect/LGBT related content playing in our stores on Co-operative Radio before but never has an employee ‘come out’ on the radio before. Well that was until Respect Steering Group member Anna Hanson recorded her coming out story that was then played in our 2,800 stores for our store based colleagues and customers to hear. It is important we include everyone in our awareness raising activities and this was one way to help spread the word that ‘you can bring your whole self to work at The Cooperative’. Big thanks to Anna for sharing her story with our 20million plus weekly shoppers. #Respect

17 May

23 June


It’s Alan

Full details on


page 21


23 September

11 October



Visibility Day

Coming Out Day

We need you!

If you’d like to contribute to

the Respect Magazine, please get in touch with us by emailing

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Respect Magazine : May/June 2014

Stonewall: There can be No Bystanders in fight to tackle bullying and abuse Stonewall’s Equality Dinner, sponsored by Aviva, raises £395,000 Hard-hitting film launched that challenges people to ‘Hear It. Stop It. Stonewall raised a record-breaking £395,000 at its annual Equality Dinner, sponsored by Aviva. Money raised from the night will support Stonewall’s education work and tackling homophobia wherever it exists. The night marked Stonewall’s 25th anniversary, with speeches from presenter, broadcaster and writer Sue Perkins and journalist and Stonewall founder, Matthew Parris. Both emphasised that while there was much to celebrate, there was still much to do. The Dinner also saw the launch of Stonewall’s No Bystanders

prejudice is challenged, we can help ensure that every person in Britain lives free from fear of persecution and violence.’ Ruth Hunt, Stonewall’s Acting Chief Executive said: ‘This powerful film starkly shows how easily prejudice and bullying can escalate from playground teasing to grown-up violence. No one can afford to be a bystander to this bullying and that is why we are calling on people to make the pledge: hear it, stop it.’

The No Bystanders film and pledge can be found at:

campaign, with a 60 second film. The hard-hitting and powerful film demonstrates that, unchecked, the abusive language children learn in the playground stays with them into adulthood. It encourages people – including gay people – to check their own language, and pledge not to be a bystander whenever they hear it from others. In support of the campaign Stonewall co-founder Sir Ian McKellen, who also lends his voice to the film, said: ‘Abuse ruins people’s lives. We all have a responsibility to take a stand and put a stop to it. By making sure that bullying is reported and

DOWNLOAD THEM! You can help spread the word by printing these impactful posters out and displaying them in your workplace and local area. Download them for free at what_we_do/9511.asp

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Respect Magazine : May/June 2014


REPORTING HATE CRIME IS EASY Call 999 in an emergency Call 101 to speak to police in your area Report what’s happened online: 13 Follow us on Twitter @CoopRespectLGBT @StonewallUK

Respect Magazine : May/June 2014

Respect does Copenhagen Respect Magazine contributors Simon and Amelia take us on a tour of the home of this years Eurovision Song Contest If you asked a British person a few years ago where they were going to go on their next European break, it would have been unlikely they would have said Copenhagen. But Denmark and all things Danish have experienced a surge in popularity in Britain in recent years all thanks to a little programme called Forbrydelsen, or The Killing for those of who don’t speak Danish. The award-winning crime series has a cult following here and in America and its popularity has spawned a number of other gripping Danish dramas including Borgen and The Bridge. In May, Denmark and Copenhagen will attract even more TV viewers as an estimated 125 million people sit down to watch the Eurovision Song Contest. In celebration of this, we count down our top 5 things to do in the Danish capital. Hopefully none of them will score nul points.

1 - Follow in the footsteps of Sarah Lund. Fans of the series can fuel their passion with a special Killing-themed tour of Copenhagen. These depart every Saturday at 2pm from Vesterport station and take in key locations such as Copenhagen Town Hall and Sarah Lund's appartment. Visit to find out more.

2 - Visit a fairytale legend. You don't

5 - A whole lot of history. Situated in a

have to be a fan of Scandinavian crime dramas to have a good time in Copenhagen. Literary buffs should head straight to Langelinje Pier to visit one of Copenhagen's most famous attractions, The Little Mermaid statue. Made out of bronze and granite, the statue was inspired by the fairytale written by Danish storyteller Hans Christian Andersen and donated to the city by the heir to the Carlsberg brewery in 1913.

beautiful 18th Century mansion just a stones throw from central Copenhagen, the Danish Museum charts Danish history from the Stone Age up to the present day. It also hosts exhibitions from other cultures and is currently hosting an exhibition on Japanese photoart. en/start/.

3 - Relax in picturesque surroundings. Sticking to a watery theme, Nyhavn is a bustling canalsside distict famed for its brightly coloured 17th and 18th century townhouses and old wooden boats. Home to numerous bars, cafes and restaurants and nicknamed 'the longest bar in Scandinavia', Nyhavn is definitely somewhere to go if you want to put your feet up after a long day's sightseeing.

4 - Ride a 100 year old rollercoaster. Thrill seekers and nature lovers alike should visit the world's second oldest pleasure gardens, Tivoli. After you've had a go on the 100 year old rollercoaster, you can take a walk around the rest of the gardens, which includes a lake. During the summer, the Gardens play host to a number of different outdoor and indoor events, including dance performances and music from Danish and international acts. Find out more about what Tivoli has to offer at

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Top facts about Denmark 1) Like the UK, Denmark is an island nation made up of over 400 seperate islands, only 76 of which are inhabited. 2) It has a population of just over 5.5 million people. 3) It is home to a number of top global brands including Lurpak, Carlsberg, Bang & Olufsen and Skype. 4) Registered same sex partnership were legalised in Denmark back in 1989. 5) A square in the centre of the city is being renamed Rainbow Square in time for the 25th anniversary of this milestone.

Useful links Visit Denmark: Gay and lesbian tourism in Denmark: Visit Copenhagen:

Registered Charity No. 1070904

Respect Magazine : May/June 2014

Registered Charity No. 1070904

Reg. Charity No. 1070904

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Reg. Charity No. 1070904

Respect Magazine : May/June 2014

The new issue of the Aspire network newsletter is out now Issue six of The Co-operative’s ASPIRE network’s quarterly newsletter has recently been published. The new look publication was produced by Respect’s outgoing Chair Thomas Anderson and the networks Chair Sharon Pegg. It features lots of contributions from the network’s members.

The Co-operative is listed in The Times Top 50 Employers for Women list for 2014 I am delighted to tell you that it has been announced that The Cooperative Group has been

with consistent commitment to progressing women in the workplace. The Times particularly wanted to acknowledge and commend our business for the launch of ASPIRE (a career network for women) in 2012, designed for our middle tier of female managers. This network has delivered a packed schedule of programmes providing development, training and networking opportunities. In June 2013, we also introduced the ‘pearls programme’, which is a development and networking programme aimed at building women’s confidence, capabilities and contacts.

listed in The Times Top 50 Employers for Women list for 2014.

The issue is a good’un, and inspired by the Respect Magazine features celeb interviews and great features about our own inspiring people too. A highlight is an interview with Christina Blacklaws, who up until a few weeks ago was Director of Policy at The Co-op Legal Services (cover star). It’s 18 pages of inspiring interviews and special features - including interviews with Lucy Powell MP, Loose Women star Jane McDonald, Coronation Street writer Martin Sterling and lots more. You can read the newsletter and find out more about Aspire by visiting their intranet pages at >HR & People >Diversity >Aspire Can only be accessed by Co-op employees

We continue to place importance on ensuring we have balanced teams both in terms of gender and in other areas of diversity, which provides us with a

The list recognises UK organisations that are leading the way in gender equality in the workplace. The Group has a strong business case for promoting diversity and inclusion and it’s great that we have been acknowledged externally for the fantastic work we have been doing in this arena. All organisations within the top 50 are able to demonstrate that gender equality is an integral part of their business strategy,

Get involved!

platform to learn, interact and shape how we do business. The Top 50 list is unranked and presented in alphabetical order.

Sam Walker Chief HR Officer The Co-operative Group

If you would like to support the network, the team would

love to hear from you. No matter how much time you can give, there are lots of ways you can support. Email the team at to find out more. They’re a friendly bunch so don’t be scared to send them your questions or suggestions. They need your support to grow! 16 Follow us on Twitter @CoopRespectLGBT

Respect Magazine : May/June 2014






FREE & DISCREET DELIVERY 17 Follow us on Twitter @CoopRespectLGBT


Respect Magazine : May/June 2014

A selection of Thomas’ fondest Respect moments and memories In no particular order

Summer 2011....I had the pleasure of

interviewing chart-topper Alexand ra Burke. She even did a meet & greet with 10 Respect members.

Moving on up the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index (WEI) The Co-operative has taken part in the annual Stonewall WEI submission for many years with varying success. That all changed when Respect was founded and the network Steering Group worked on our 400 page plus submission. The results speak for themselves. The year before the network was launched (2009) we ranked 112th in the index, then 79th in 2010, then 64th in 2011, 11th in 2012 and 3rd place in both 2013 and 2014. The only retailer to feature in the Top100 and the first to ever break the Top10. And we’ve been a Star Performer Network Group for the last four years too. Lots of time from lots of people, but well worth it. Proud!

The biggest, most active and mo st accoladed network group in the UK! Wow. With over 11,0

00 ‘Friends of Respect’ and a history of supporting over 110 LGB T events and initiatives, no other network group comes close. Wit h the continued support, it’s onw ards and upwards for the network. And with over 20 diversity related award wins or shor t-listings to our name, we’ re the most accoladed network too!

Campaigning What has given me so many proud moments is The Co-operative’s commitment to doing the right thing and doing things the majority of other businesses would never dream of doing. This has included our campaigning. Influenced by the Respect Steering Group (namely Steve Ratcliffe) the Group was one of the only businesses to support Equal Marriage (England & Wales), taking part in the consultation, producing a video and giving evidence in Parliament. Authentic support if ever I saw it. Other campaigning has included the Same Sex Hand Holding initiative in support of our LGBT brothers and sisters in Russia...and so much more.


When I set up the @CoopRespectLGBT account in

January 2013 I never thought that at the time of me stepping down in April 2014 we’d have 9,410 followers. The 3rd most followed Co-op account and most followed LGBT network. Whoop!

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18 Follow us on Twitter @CoopRespectLGBT

Respect Magazine : May/June 2014

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zine I remem ber sittin g down first issue and plan of the th ning the en eleve ‘Respect n page Newslett er’. I wa create so s so excit mething ed to new and decided fresh. I the netw ork need and out ed an id of that I entity s uggested ‘Respect the nam ’. And so e it was born...... My first ever Designin g the log Since the o was fu n I have issue of n too. been a p producin ar t of g 2 7 issue a Respect nd over of conte 600 pag nt. It ’s a es real labo am excit u r o f love an ed to se dI e where magazin the new e team ta ke it.

Thomas founded the Respect ‘Loved by You’ Awards. In 2013 the awards reached over 13 million people on Twitter alone. A tweet from Stephen Fry cemented a great awards initiative.

Thinking outside the box

My idea to include celeb intervie ws star ted with an interview with Happy Mondays singer Rowetta and over the years we’ve interviewed ever yone from Ben Cohen and Heather Peace (pictured) to Steps and Evan Dav is, oh and the lovely Shayne Ward. This approach and our mag azine has inspired many other networks too!

Helping others Over the years I’ve enjo yed helping other employees with workplace & pers onal issues, supporting other networks getting star ting & maintai ning momentum & volunteering for lots of charities & community groups.

Raising awareness of sexual health Can you imagine a staff newsletter that featured an article about the importance of wearing condoms and sexual health. Well that is exactly what we featured in the first ever issue of the Respect Newsletter in 2010. It wasn’t without it’s complaints from some employees saying a workplace publication isn’t the place to talk about sex. Well we disagreed and we had the full support of the business. I think every opportunity to promote safe sex should be explored and the feature was well received by the majority. Since then we have featured regular features about safe sex, HIV and stigma. I am really proud of this and I personally arranged the networks support of the inspiring ‘Stand Tall, Get Snapped’ exhibition and as a team World AIDS Day is always a day we work hard to promote across the business.

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Comm unity S uppor suppo t T he r ted

over 1 netwo 10 LG rk has BT eve nts an d initia tive

Thomas is a proud Ambassador for HIV charity the George House Trust

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Stonewall s 3rd on the 2013 to be ranked fact that g3 magazine reader the immensely proud s, we diversity, we’re appear in the Top 100. And Readers’ Award r to that truly values Out In The City As a business ty Index – the only retaile Year’ at the 2013 g3 & inclusion too. ring, Group of the diversity and Workplace Equali networking, mento ‘LGBT Network e passion for ers and offersive commitment to voted us their volumes about our genuin over 1200 memb as proact s e has this ct, speak divers And, Respe and think, the UK. network individual our people across who are all as employee LGBT Our inclusive and social opportunities to ed in our team members, development we preach is also reflect they serve. apply. ity of talent to practicing what and customer base that a broad divers bs and welcome the communities opportunities tunities at www nate about equal We are passio of career oppor our wide range at look a Please take

Influencing and arranging The Co-operative’s first ever advertising in an LGBT publication in early 2013. That was in the g3 & Out In The City Magazines. It was a goal of mine to see a Co-op ad in Attitude mag and I’m delighted to have played a role in making it happen.

Respect Magazine : May/June 2014

LGBT tweets of the month

Big #respect to our 9,400+ twitter followers

Here's what some famous tweeters have been saying in 140 characters or less this

month Tweet of the


If you’re a Twee ter, come and ch eck us out at @Coop Re


Paris Lees (@ParisLees) British gay people will soon be able to marry each other. Kind of feel like I did the night Obama became President. Change is possible. Melanie Rickey (@fashedatlarge) #VogueFestival and #gaymarriage queue at the South Bank Centre today. I’m in both! John Whaite (@JohnWhaiteBakes) @Independent has named ‘At Home’ its third best baking book. I’m touched. Clare Balding (@clarebalding) Interesting programme on @BBCWomansHour about image issues for girls. Can women’s football persuade them it’s OK to be fit and sporty?

Some of our celeb followers Jane Hill @JaneHillNews BBC presenter, arts lover, dog owner.

Ben Cohen

Graham Norton (@grahnort) Just had coffee with Dame Angela Lansbury. That bus may hit me now #cloudnine. Sue Perkins (@sueperkins) Off to drink my own body weight in potato water. If anyone sees me in Soho later, please help scrape me off the pavement. Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) Same sex marriage isn’t just a victory for gay people. ANYTHING that promotes equality, promotes progress.

PRIDE lineup of the far

@RugbyBenCohen Combating bullying wherever and to whomever it occurs.

Lucy Spraggan @lspraggan Go on #JoinTheClub

Read our tips for network groups getting started on Twitter in Issue 25 of our ‘Respect Magazine’ at

Birmingham Pride is a weekend long LGBT festival held annually in the Gay Village on Hurst Street, Birmingham. This year it’s held over the Spring Bank Holiday Weekend Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th May 2014. The acts announced to perform so far include KATY B | GABRIELLE | CONOR MAYNARD | FOXES | MS DYNAMITE | STORM QUEEN | ELYAR FOX | ARTFUL DODGER | LUCY SPRAGGAN | S CLUB 4 | ANGIE BROWN | STOOSHE | TICH & many more. What a lineup! Keep updated at

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Respect Magazine : May/June 2014

4 1 0 2 T I B O H A D I Celebrate The Rainbow Connection & International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) takes place every year on 17th May, and this year The Lesbian & Gay Foundation (LGF) is planning a number of ways to mark this important date in the calendar - to raise awareness of hate crime against lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans (LGB&T) people and to encourage reporting of hate crime. This year, they’re launching a variety of initiatives for IDAHOBIT as part of their campaign ‘The Rainbow Connection.’ Why not be a part of it? They’re asking you to dust off your rainbow flags and fly them proudly over the weekend of 16th-19th May; get into the kitchen in our joint project with the Village Bakers ‘Bake The Rainbow, Share The Rainbow; join them for a film screening of Call Me Kuchu on 16th May; come along to the now annual Hate Crime Vigil in Sackville Gardens on 17th May; and to use their brand new Hate Crime reporting web-app, which will launch in time for IDAHOBIT.

BAKE THE RAINBOW, SHARE THE RAINBOW The LGF, in partnership with the Village Bakers, are encouraging people to bake their own ‘rainbow’ based creations. Participants are free to interpret ‘rainbow’ in any creative way they see fit and to share their creations via social media channels. They will be sharing a collection of simple recipes and some fun how-tobaking videos for people to download from The LGF website. You could even bake and share your tasty treats with your colleagues or friends over IDAHOBIT and collect donations to help The LGF continue to provide support for LGB&T people who have experienced hate crimes. The Village Bakers will also be inspiring people to get involved and will be holding an event on Sunday 11th May, from 1pm, at The Molly House. You can find out more information by visiting: villagebakers


The LGF Hate Crime Reporting web-app is a mobile phone optimised website, which will enable people to quickly and easily (and anonymously if needed) report hate crime incidents. The app will be launched to coincide with IDAHOBIT on Saturday 17th May 2014 so watch this space!

You can get involved, connect with them and with each other – whether it’s through sharing creatively, attending our vigil, flying a rainbow flag or using their dedicated Hate Crime reporting app – there are a variety of opportunities to show your support!


This year, the LGF is inviting businesses, organisations and individuals to dust off their rainbow flags and proudly fly them over the weekend of Friday 16th May – Monday 19th May 2014. They have a small number of rainbow flags available and they would be delighted to provide you with a rainbow flag (in return for a suggested donation of £5 to cover our costs and postage). If you would like to purchase a flag or share your flag pictures with them then please email:


To mark IDAHOBIT, The LGF are hosting a special vigil in Sackville Gardens with guest speakers from the local community on Saturday 17th May 2014 from 5-6:30pm. This will provide an opportunity for the community to reflect and pay their respects to LGB&T people who have been affected by hate crime. Everyone is welcome to attend and after the vigil they are invited to join them for a complimentary glass of wine at Polari on Canal Street from 6:30pm.


The LGF will be screening Call Me Kuchu, a film about the late David Kato, one of the few openly gay men who dared to publicly protest statesanctioned homophobia. David’s fight against Uganda's government and tabloids to liberate his fellow LGB&T men and women, or 'kuchus' will be picked up in a discussion after the screening with specially invited guests. This event is FREE to all and will be held on Friday 16th May at 6pm, LGF Community Resource Centre, Number 5 Richmond Street, M1 3HF. To find out more, visit:

! t i f o t r a Be a p

You can get involved in one, two or even all of these activities for IDAHOBIT 2014 so they can challenge hate against LGB&T people together – be a part of it! Keep up to date with the latest news and events for IDAHOBIT by following the LGF page on Facebook: and on Twitter @lgfoundation using #IDAHOBIT2014. You can also check out their picture gallery: photos/lgf/ and videos on:

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Respect Magazine : May/June 2014

Respect Special Feature By Will O’Regan Entertainment Editor

Interviews with Emmelie de Forest Johnny Logan Molly Smitten-Downes Katrina Sonia Ryan Dolan

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Respect Magazine : May/June 2014 In May 1993, as a 10 year old boy growing up on a farm in rural Ireland as I watched my homeland win Eurovision for the second year in a row I decided that one day I would go to the Eurovision Song Contest.

UK into second place and took their second consecutive win and the first of what would become a hat trick. I think I was very emotional as I remained up way past my bedtime to see Niamh emerge on that triangular stage as winner and reprise the song. From that moment on I knew that somehow I wanted to somehow become involved in Eurovision when I grew up.

In May 2014 as a 31 year old living in Manchester I’m finally going to make that dream become a reality. In the early 90’s in Ireland I lived in a two television channel household where the Saturday night shows of the BBC and ITV were not on our screens at all and apart from the weekly chat show formats on Friday and Saturday nights and the National Lottery scratch card quiz programme there was no big shiny floor entertainment show made in the country. That was until Ireland went and won the Eurovision and suddenly the biggest show in Europe was being staged there and everyone was watching. In 1992, when I was 9, Ireland won the Eurovision with a song called Why Me, written by Johnny Logan (Mr Eurovision) and performed by Linda Martin. The win meant that the following year the contest would be staged at home. From that very moment my interest in Eurovision began. There was no internet; television news reports, newspapers and magazines were the only way to find out what was going on in terms of the planning for the big event. Before too long it emerged that a businessman in the small County Cork town of Millstreet, Noel C Duggan; was offering his show-jumping arena to be the venue. Next thing the decision was made and the contest was moving into the countryside having previously been set in Dublin on the three occasions that Ireland had previously won and then hosted the event. It would be staged in Millstreet, which geographically is a 2 hour drive from my family home. The local newspaper, The Cork Examiner went into overdrive. Every day that went by more and more details of the show started to emerge, the planning and the preparations going into making this production happen were massive. The arena had the floor dug out to fit an orchestra pit and the large triangular stage. Roads were widened and

Through the years I’ve watched and followed it every year with incredible interest and since the internet came into all our lives it’s become even easier to find out all that’s going on right up to the show. No need for the Cork Examiner these days!

Our 2014 Respect Eurovision Special Feature is brought to you by our Entertainment Editor and Eurovision Correspondent

Will O’Regan improved, the railway links were upgraded, and the entire town was painted and enhanced. Euro fever had well and truly struck. I followed this every single day and next thing the Irish final was staged and the act and song chosen, Niamh Kavanagh, a twenty-something red haired singer with a really powerful voice was to perform the song In Your Eyes for Ireland at home. It was the biggest thing in the world to me then. I had never been interested in sports but this was something that really appealed to me and I really was in awe of it all. All of a sudden it was May 15th and it was show day. I can remember being so excited that Saturday knowing that so many months had gone into this one special night. Next thing, it was 8pm and the famous signature tune played and the show was live from Millstreet. Over the next three hours I witnessed Eurovision history made as Ireland beat the

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When I moved to Manchester after University I joined OGAE UK, the official UK fan club for the contest. Through the social events that the club hold I started to make friends all over Europe who are even bigger fans than I am. They could name any song, any singer from any year or national final. I fully admit to loving it, but they are uber fans compared to me! In Autumn 2013, at the suggestion of my dear friend Kristján I made the decision to apply and then joined the writing team at, a site dedicated to reporting on all things Eurovision and from that moment I decided that if the opportunity was there I would take it. I would go to Eurovision 2014 as an internet journalist. As I write this I’m about to embark on my trip to Copenhagen for the 59th Eurovision Song Contest. I will be based at the press centre; writing, interviewing and getting the behind the scenes experience I have always wanted. I’m thinking back to that night in 1993 and the feelings I felt then are with me again, I cannot wait to get started. It really is going to be something that I know I will never forget. I will be updating daily on Twitter from the Danish capital - @willovision for all the latest from the contest Eurovision Song Contest Semi Final 1 – Tuesday 6th May – 8pm BBC Three Eurovision Song Contest Semi Final 2 – Thursday 8th May – 8pm BBC Three Eurovision Song Contest Final – Saturday 10th May – 8pm BBC One

Respect Magazine : May/June 2014

Emmelie de Forest


Following our interview with Loreen last year, we’re not breaking with Respect tradition and we’re delighted to bring you an exclusive interview with last years winner.

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Respect Magazine : May/June 2014 Emmelie won the 2013 Eurovision final on 18 May with a total of 281 points, 47 points more than the second place finisher. She was a popular winner and was an early favourite

The winning song reached No15 in the UK singles chart It charted well in many European countries including No1 in Denmark, No5 in Ireland, No3 in Sweden, No5 in Germany and No3 in Switzerland

In December 2013 it was revealed that Emmelie had been awarded the Årets Europæer Award (The European of the Year Award) by the Danish European Movement.

Prior to your experience on 2013’s Dansk Melodi Grand Prix what did you think of the Eurovision?

competition and the show was in Jan.

weekend and so half the artists went to Amsterdam and the other half to London. I went to Sweden and did TV and radio interviews and then I had to write and record my whole album so that was how I used my time preparing for Malmö. It’s been more after I’ve won that I’ve been travelling to 25 countries this past year!

It’s something I’ve always been watching, so it’s since I was a child. My father was Swedish and of course it’s really huge in Sweden. I remember watching the shows and when Denmark won (in 2000 with Olsen Brothers and Fly on the Wings of Love) I was 7 years old. It has always been a dream for me to participate someday, and hopefully win!

Tell us the story of ‘Only Teardrops’? I was offered to be on another TV show in Denmark, X Factor, actually and I said no. I knew a lady at Danish television and I said I really want to be in Dansk Melodi Grand Prix for the Eurovision Song Contest and she said I should talk to this guy and she gave me his phone number. He’s my manager today but I didn’t know him at the time. I called him and he said I have this song, Only Teardrops, and I think it’s a great song for you. I emailed him some pictures and some of my music and then we had a meeting the very next day. I loved the song the first time first heard it. It was in the style that I liked, pop and folk and then we recorded it twice actually. I was very sick the first time: I had caught a cold. Then next thing I was told I was in the

How much planning went into getting the staging of the song ahead of the Danish final last year? In Denmark as soon as I was told I was in the competition we only had a few weeks as it was in January. I wanted the stage to be warm colours, yellow and orange and red like the Danish flag. I would wear a white dress. Then me and some of my people got the idea for the drummers with one of the drummers playing the flute to add some drama and also a love story between me and one of those drummers. I didn’t have a choreographer we just did it like we wanted to do it and I wanted to be myself as much as possible. I’m best when I’m not being told to do a lot of things. It’s easier for me to just be myself and sing and do my thing. In Malmö of course it was a different stage and we had a choreographer and different cameras, a lot of cameras compared to Denmark so there was a lot of preparations later in March and April before going to Malmö in May.

Once you were chosen to be the Danish entry in the contest last year, did you get to visit many of the competing countries to perform the song? I was in Sweden and then I was in London. Last year Holland and London had Eurovision in concert at the same 25 Follow us on Twitter @CoopRespectLGBT

When you went to Malmö what was the experience like to represent Denmark in Sweden? It felt really good especially as my Father was Swedish so it was kinda like I was home. I have a lot of family there so it’s like my other home country and it’s very close to Denmark so it felt very good that the competition was in Sweden.

Naturally at Eurovision you expect there would be a competitive nature behind the scenes but did you have time to mix with the artists from the other countries much? I got a chance to meet some of the other artists, for example Ryan Dolan from Ireland and Natália Kelly from Austria and Zlata from Ukraine. Of course I spoke to some of the others backstage, Margaret from Norway so it was really nice. I said hello to Bonnie Tyler and she seemed really nice, it was a good song and performance that she did.

Respect Magazine : May/June 2014

When you got through to the Final from the semi final how did that feel? I was really excited and quite nervous because in the first semi final it was 10 countries to the final and we were revealed numbers 8 or 7 so we were one of the last told that we were through so I was very nervous but it was really really good.

Then came the Grand Final, what was the day like prior to the live show? I think I was quite relaxed actually, more so than for the Dansk Grand Prix, I was actually more nervous about that because at that time I’d never performed on TV or cameras or any of that stuff. I have always been touring and performing but only on small stages, and festivals and concerts, not TV at all. I think I was more relaxed in Malmö on the day of the grand final because we were there for 10, 12 or even 14 days and we had a lot of rehearsals so it felt good and secure. I think maybe the last hour before going on stage I could feel I was more nervous and even seconds before going out on stage because I knew this night was really important to me.

something that grounds and relaxes you? I’ve always been doing that since I started performing as a young girl. It’s like when you would have a test at school and you have to do a good job I would wear very loose comfortable clothing. I think it’s the same thing when I have to do an important performance in front of many million people then I have to have bare feet and a comfortable loose dress! If I have high heels on I get very shaky and nervous. So if you’re bare footed then people can’t see that you’re nervous.

Every time you performed Only Teardrops and the whistle/ flute is heard the audience left out a massive cheer, how did that feel? Every time they heard the flute. I could really feel the audience every time I went on stage and the positive energy they sent to me. People were like afterwards “Did you know you got the biggest applause?” People were going crazy when they heard the flute and I was really happy to hear that people had received the song so well and loved it from the beginning. It gave me even more confidence going on stage and people received it in that way.

You perform barefoot and did so at the contest, is this 26 Follow us on Twitter @CoopRespectLGBT 26 Follow us on Twitter @CoopRespectLGBT

For the first time in Eurovision history you were announced as the winner before the voting had been completed, could you describe for us your memories of those minutes in time? When they announced it before the voting had finished I was very surprised because I think there was five countries left to vote but I think it was because of lack of time. I was walking, well actually running to the stage with all my people and my drummers and backing singers and then I came out on the bridge and the arena was just huge and people were standing up, a lot of Danish flags and Danish fans. Loreen was on the other side of the bridge and she gave me the trophy. That was amazing. I really loved her performance the year before and I was so lucky to meet her the day before I won when we did an interview together.

Is the winner’s trophy heavy? It does look like a big piece of glass It is quite heavy, it’s made out of glass and unfortunately it broke in the middle like a week after. I had to exhibit at the National Museum, there was to be an exhibit about me and the Eurovison Song Contest so we actually had to put glue on in the middle!

Respect Magazine : May/June 2014

“If I have high heels on I get very shaky and nervous. So if you’re bare footed then people can’t see that you’re nervous” Did that glue hold? Yes because it was just in the middle but now it’s actually broken again! Two weeks ago so now I have to glue it again…

After the win and the winner’s press conference did you party afterwards? Not much, I was a bit tired after all the weeks, it was very intense. I went to Euroclub to perform; twice I think we did it. Then some interviews, Danish press. I had a drink, one white Russian and some food. I think it was maybe three o clock in the morning. And then my boyfriend came back to Sweden and we celebrated at the hotel.

Tell me about your homecoming? It was the day after and there were more interviews in the morning in Malmö and then we drove in a bus to Denmark. We went to Denmark’s Radio and there was more interviews and a press conference and after that we drove to Copenhagen. There was helicopter’s flying and recording live above us all the time and people were honking and waving as we drove to Copenhagen on our bus with people playing Only Teardrops on loudspeakers. A lot of people taking pictures. Then we came through Tivoli and there were fifteen thousand people there to celebrate and I performed

Teardrops and some of the National Anthem. It was huge.

What has the past year been like for you, 21 years old, Eurovision winner, traveling, music, singing; it must be like some dream come true? It is. I’ve always been doing music and performing and showing but smaller stages and festivals and culture houses and stuff like that. When I moved to Copenhagen when I was 18 I had to have a job aside my music and singing, I worked in bars and a bakery shop and now after winning the Danish competition which is almost one and a half years ago I have been making a living out of my music for that time which is something I can just focus on. It’s the biggest passion in my life, to write and perform and record. Travel with my music.

the beach so I could relax and swim but you also had the city. You could see all these amazing churches like La Sagrada Familia. It was an amazing holiday. There’s been a lot of work (this past year) but I’ve seen my Mother, my brother and my boyfriend; the ones that are closest to me. I didn’t see a lot of my family for a year. I went on tour with my band in Denmark in March this year and performed in my hometown, it sold out and lots of my friends and family were there sitting on the front row so I was really extra nervous but it was great to be back, and it was a special night and special memory because I was back in my hometown which I really loved so it was amazing. I think after Eurovision (this year) I have a week off and then I’m starting to record my second album.

Aside from winning the contest have you managed to take some time for yourself, a break of some kind? Any special moments away from the busy schedule... In July I had a week off! I said that I needed a day off as I’d not had one in over half a year. So my boyfriend and I went to Barcelona and had a week holiday. It was really nice, it was near 27 Follow us on Twitter @CoopRespectLGBT 27 Follow us on Twitter @CoopRespectLGBT

Emmeli e with he r Eurovis ion trop hy (before it broke)

Respect Magazine : May/June 2014

“I’m really looking forward to celebrating the new winner. This year has been amazing and it’s because of Eurovision that I’m in this place now” Do you find that you get recognised a lot now?

end and sing with me.

I think people do and especially the three months after I won there was a lot but then it was calmer,. In the fall it continued but then like this January as it gets closer to Eurovision and I’m performing on TV shows people do recognise me a lot, again. I think they have been so very nice and positive and ask for an autograph or a picture so it’s always been good experiences so far.

Are you involved in the Semi Final shows this year?

For 2014, ‘Rainmaker’ is what we’re going to be hearing from you, the #JoinUs song especially for the contest, what should we expect to see in the performance in Copenhagen? It’s still a bit secret; of course I’ve already performed the song in Denmark and Malta and Sweden and Germany. It’ll be huge, the Eurovision Song Contest Final and there will be a lot of people on stage, dancers, musicians, me and of course all the other artists from the show will join me on stage at the

I’m performing on the first semi final, I just actually had rehearsals for that this morning, I just finished before I called you. I don’t know how much I can say about it but it’s going to be very different to the rainmaker/teardrops performance of the final. It’ll be something different but I’m opening that show, the first semi.

Once the 2014 winner is decided, your hectic year as Eurovision champion will draw to a close. Over the coming years where do you see yourself in music? I’m really looking forward to celebrating the new winner. This year has been amazing and it’s because of Eurovision that I’m in this place now with my music and I’m so grateful for that because of Eurovision. It’s done amazing things for my career. I also

You can download Emmelie’s debut album ‘Emmelie de Forest’ and her new single ‘Rainmaker’ from iTunes now 28 Follow us on Twitter @CoopRespectLGBT 28 Follow us on Twitter @CoopRespectLGBT

want new opportunities and of course I have the album that I’m recording this summer also and I think it’ll be released in September. Then I’ll have to promote in Denmark, Sweden and Germany. Then I’m thinking about moving to the US, doing music there for a few months. Set up some meetings and maybe live there for a time.

The LGBT community and the Eurovision Song Contest do have a big connection, it’s not everyone’s choice of course but it is big with a lot of us. How important are these particular fans to you? Oh my God they are very important. They always make a party and cheer and sing along. I’ve been performing at Pride in Stockholm and in Copenhagen and it was just the greatest audience I’ve ever performed in front of. You can really feel that the Eurovision fans love the music and love the show and they mean such a lot to me.


Respect Magazine : May/June 2014

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Respect Magazine : May/June 2014

1997 UK Finished 1st

We shine a light on Katrina

After huge success in the 80s with iconic hits like ‘Walking On Sunshine’, Katrina & The Waves surged back into the limelight by winning the 1997 Eurovision Song Contest for the United Kingdom on 3 May 1997 with the huge song ‘Love Shine A Light’. Respect caught up with lead singer Katrina Leskanich. It's said that music is "in the blood" would you say that's the case for you? Yes. Both my parents were musical and had good voices.  I came from a Catholic family and we had this ritual of singing 3 Holy songs before mealtimes. If my Mother was worried about a meal going cold in front of us we would sing really fast.

States and put together Katrina and the Waves.

Music has taken you all over the world during your career, what are some of your favourite countries or cities to play? Warm ones are always nice but historically I have had the best success in Scandinavia, Canada and Siberia.

How did you get your start in the music business? I begged my parents for a guitar when I was 14 and they were kind enough to buy me one for my birthday. Probably, in a household with 6 children a nicer thing to listen to than the recorder.

How did Katrina and the Waves come about? I met Vince (bass player in the The Waves) in the church choir in Feltwell, Norfolk as he came from a similarly large family and we put a band together with his little brother called Mamas Cookin. We played the American bases in the UK until we met Alex (drummer) and Kimberley Rew a few years later, abandoned the idea to go back to the

“I was asked to tone down my American accent in interviews so I studied the Mary Poppins movie and got Dick van Dyke instead.”

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How did Katrina and the Waves become involved in the Great British Song Contest in 1997? Jonathan King asked us if we had a good strong pop song for Eurovision so we took Love Shine a Light out of the bottom drawer and submitted it. We had never put it on an album before because we thought it was "too Eurovision". It scraped through in the prelims narrowly beating "Yodel In the Canyon of Love"

What was the Eurovision experience like for the UK delegation leading up to the big show that year? Hectic. Non stop rehearsals and parties and press.  It seemed to be all about what I was going to wear.  Twelve different stylists, Union Flag dresses... later I ended up in the green blouse I'd worn all week from the Cambridge market and a pair of trousers borrowed from my sister.  I was asked to tone down my American accent in interviews so I studied the Mary Poppins movie and got Dick van Dyke instead.

Respect Magazine : May/June 2014 You performed close to the last song of the night in the running order. How did you feel that evening as you were awaiting your performance slot? There were only 24 of us back then so it wasn't such a huge wait to go on 2nd to last. While you are sitting there though, all the other songs start to sound real good.  I had become friends with all the other contestants and we were genuinely rooting for each other.  Plus, the Dutch girls had some Vodka.

As the votes started to come in the UK took a clear lead ahead of Ireland, how did that feel? Great! But then given the amount of Champagne backstage I think a molar extraction would have felt alright.

What are your memories of going back on stage as the winners? I didn't know we had to reprise the song having never watched Eurovision before so at about 300 sheets to the wind I managed to be escorted back onstage by Ronan Keating and proceeded to fluff some lines. The audience were clapping along out of time so it was a little chaotic but I really don't think anyone gave a hootenanny. It was a spirited reprise to say the least.

What happened in the weeks and months after the contest?

No3 UK Hit

Press, TV, frantically trying to finish our album in the midst of a massive European promotional tour. Tony Blair and Labour were back in power and it felt like a new dawn for Great Britain.

how I can remain cool, calm and collected? Why should you stay calm? Everybody else is hysterical, glitter everywhere. No point trying to keep cool just get in there and get into the spirit of it all.

What are your thoughts on Eurovision these days? 2 semi finals, online and social media elements such as YouTube, Facebook, twitter and the larger spectacle that it has become? There's so much doom and gloom these days, it's nice to just sit back and let Eurovision wash over you for a week and forget your troubles, get happy and let it all take over your life. And then you have 365 days to recuperate until the next one.

Have you heard the UK 2014 entry Children of the Universe by Molly? Is it a step in the right direction for the British entry? Good song and not an embarrassment by any means. I think Molly is confident and will do very well for the UK this year. Does she need a green shirt?

I'm going to the contest for the very first time this year as a member of the press for the site, my dream of some 21 years is going to come through, any suggestions as to

I've seen you perform at Manchester Pride in 2012. You have a loyal and living LGBT fan base, it must feel great to feel that love and support from the fans? That's why I do it.

You have maintained a consistently busy schedule over the years including hosting the Eurovision 50th Congratulations show, releasing your own albums, publishing Peggy Lee Loves London, travelling and performing all over the world, life seems to have been very busy for you? Is that how you like things to be? It's better than watching The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills all day although some days if I had my choice.....

What's next for you? More Peggy Lee? Music, more tours? First American tour for me since the 80's this summer. Retro Futura Tour with Thompson Twins, Howard Jones, Midge Ure and China Crisis.

Find out more at | Follow Katrina on Twitter @KatrinasWeb

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Respect Magazine : May/June 2014

Mr Eurovision We meet Johnny

Logan, officially the

most successful artist in Eurovision history. He has won the contest on three occasions, twice as a performer and once as a composer. A true Eurovision legend.

Prior to the 1980 national final

The homecoming in Dublin must

Dion – was there a sense of

what were your personal views of the Eurovision Song Contest?

have been something very special when you flew back after

something special about her back then at the start of her career?

Back in 1980, the song contest had great media and record company input. It may seem strange now but back then winning


I had already heard of Celine through Chris Neil my producer back then and knew she was a great singer. My main

the Eurovision almost guaranteed a hit record all over Europe. So it was taken very seriously from a career point but also on a purely personal level, it was considered a great honour to represent your country.

What did it feel like to go to the Hague and represent your country with Shay Healy's song? Nerve wreaking , winning the National Song Contest was exciting but going to the Hague was an adventure and the hopes of the country lay heavy on my shoulders.

It was amazing, there were thousands of people waiting to greet me and in Ashbourne where I live, they held a civic reception in my honour. I have a blown up photo of me back then surrounded by Garda and fans on the wall in my music room.

Flash forward to 1987 and you won the Irish National Final and went to Brussels's with Hold Me Now, your own composition, there was a real feeling; true emotion in there when you sang. Can you describe the feelings you experienced standing on stage performing what was such a personal song to you? Absolute terror, a mixture of fear and heart. I needed to win the contest but I needed to perform the song well just as much. There was so much pressure, I know the people around me didn't mean to but they all knew we were among the favourites and that just added to the pressure I felt. Singing the song though, I stepped into the emotion and focused on that. That and a prayer!

er A care over ing s n n a p s gle 40 sin

At the Dublin 1988 contest you presented the prizes to the winners, including a young Celine 32 32 Follow Follow us us on on Twitter Twitter @CoopRespectLGBT @CoopRespectLGBT

memory back then was of the final vote when she won! Very dramatically!

Years before the 1992 win you wrote for Linda Martin in 1984 with Terminal 3, finishing second in Luxembourg - was there a promise made back then that you kept to her in writing ‘Why Me’? As with ‘Hold Me Now’, I didn't write the song for the contest, I wrote it from my heart and I intended to record it but Louis Walsh, Linda's manager at the time and a lifelong friend of mine called me and asked if I had a song for Linda for the contest. I knew ‘Why Me’ was a great song and perfect for Linda, so I changed the lyrics to suit a woman and edited the song to three minutes. The rest is history and it moved Linda from 2nd in 84 to 1st in 92.

“It may seem strange now but back then winning the Eurovision almost guaranteed a hit record all over Europe.”

Respect Magazine : May/June 2014 How did it feel to have a second composition win in 1992, totaling your 3rd win in all? It was very strange not being the performer but there was a great feeling of pride, achievement and it completed the set. I had won singing Shays Song, singing my own and someone singing one of mine.

In 1993 you were the interval act for the contest with the Cork School of Music and the children of Millstreet – did you enjoy that experience?

continued on for years. By the time they realised that the show was ending they had lost sight of how to choose a song to represent Ireland. Unfortunately, they still don't understand to this day, in my opinion.

Can you ever see Ireland, or even the UK winning the show again? No, not with the people involved in the selection process. They need to involve younger people with new ideas and to give them the resources and commitment to do the job. I'm not sure they will ever entice the best writers back.

No, I can't say I did. The choir were lovely but I had buried my father in Australia a few days before and I was heartbroken when I preformed.

When Ireland was winning the contest year after year there was such a feeling of pride about it all like a winning formula was somehow unlocked – but then once the televote was brought in and the orchestra was removed things changed and the scores for Ireland were far from stellar. Do you think that the Irish powers that be in terms of the RTE producers missed a trick and didn’t keep on trend with the contest in the way other countries have successfully managed? I think a mixture of greed and lack of understanding were to blame. The powers that be decided to change the selection process into a TV show called "Eurostar", following the example of the then trendy show "You’re a Star". They held a contest which pitted people from different counties against each other, the contest became a joke in so much as the panel were made up of people who hadn't got a clue, commenting on a singers performance. The reality was that the song became secondary. The show made money on the phone lines, entrance fees etc and

You were at the Irish final this year, do you like the Irish entry for Copenhagen; Heartbeat?

Tell us a about your latest CD ‘The Irish Soul’ and your DVD ‘Johnny Logan & Friends - The Irish Connection’? About 8 years ago, at the insistence of a Danish friend and agent, I produced and recorded a cd of the Irish music I grew up with."The Irish Connection". It topped the charts throughout Scandinavia and went double platinum. Last year I recorded the follow up cd "The Irish Soul". I'm currently touring and promoting this cd all over Europe. There is also a DVD now available of the first cd "The Irish Connection" Next year I will begin work on a new cd of original music with a new musical direction.

Unfortunately I didn't hear the winning song this year, the contest turned into an episode of the Jerry Springer show and I was mortified not only for the singers but for everybody involved.

Seeing the love you get from the audiences who support you, along with your big fan-base throughout Europe, we could never imagine you retiring – do you ever ponder the future in that way yourself? I think I will sing until I die just as my father did. Music has never been a job for me , it's been a passion and something that I have never undervalued. Also I'm lucky enough to have a whole new generation discovering my music and I have no intention of going anywhere except my next concert!

OUT NOW Buy Johnny’s most recent album ‘The Irish Connection

Have you always been aware of

2’ and DVD ‘Johnny Logan

and felt the support you have in the LGBT community?

& Friends : The Irish

Throughout my career, I've received advice, opportunities  and honesty from gay friends, professionals and stylists.

official website at

I've been blessed with many gay friends and I will always remain grateful for all that they have added to my life.

33 Follow us on Twitter @CoopRespectLGBT

Connection Live’ from his

UPLIFTING Respect Magazine : May/June 2014

34 Follow us on Twitter @CoopRespectLGBT

The Beat of Gay UK FM | DAB | ONLINE

Respect Magazine : May/June 2014

Say hello to Molly Smitten-Downes

2014 UK Good luck Molly

Can Molly bring home a UK win when she represents the UK at the 2014 Eurovision Song Contest?

What has life been like for you since you were unveiled as the United Kingdom’s Eurovision entry 2014? Mad! Like absolutely mad! My feet haven’t touched the ground; it’s literally been wooosh. Lots of press and gigging. Craziness, it’s been brilliant, I love it. I’m loving every second of it.

Prior to this opportunity coming about what was your honest perception of Eurovision? I guess I sort of thought it was a bit tacky if I’m honest. I hadn’t really been engaging with it the last few years. I loved that Euphoria song by Loreen. I hadn’t watched that year but I’d heard the song and loved it and then I realised it had come through the competition. I think I had a real preconceived idea about what it was and that’s my own ignorance really as I wasn’t up to speed with what it was about. You know you hear about the sort of novelty acts that come through and everyone loves about Eurovision and I hadn’t really been taking it seriously as a song writing competition. Since I agreed to do it I’ve done the homework, looked back at the tracks that have been winning and

scoring quite high more often than not are really really great songs so that encouraged me to think this is actually a really good opportunity for a songwriter. This year there are some really good song. I feel really happy to be a part of the competition.

You were a bit reluctant to take up the offer when you were initially asked. What changed your mind? I had a conversation with Guy Freeman thinking I was going to say a very polite thank you but no thank you. He’s the guy in charge of putting together this year’s entry and he just explained what they were trying to do; he said that it’s under new management, that they wanted it to be an unknown, not a household name, that they were interested in me as a songwriter and it all sounded very new and very fresh and like a really good opportunity. Being in touch with me as a songwriter made me more comfortable because I just would have thought that the BBC would be very controlling and had a real dictatorship about what kind of song it would be and what you’d have write and I just wasn’t up for that.on I iTunes StarttoAgain is out now to download feel like I’ve learned the hard way that writingRyan a song fit the brief or please Follow ontoTwitter @ryandolanmusic 35 Follow us on Twitter @CoopRespectLGBT

other people is never really good and you never get any satisfaction out of it so it made me realise that if I’m going to be writing the song then I’m only going to submit the one that I’m happy with and then if I get it, great. So that’s really what changed my mind. I just went for it. As the time went by I realised just how much I wanted to get the gig and here I am!

“I’ve got an album deal and that is going to be coming out this year”

Respect Magazine : May/June 2014 Here in Britain we have shows like The X Factor, The Voice and Britain’s Got Talent, Had you ever considered any of those as a possible launch pad for your career? Not really. I think I always thought you have to be really brave to go on those shows and I’m not sure I’d do really well if I’m honest because A, I don’t really have a sob story and the back story is really important in those shows, they want to hear about how you’re an orphan and living on the street for 10 years or whatever and I don’t really have a story like that I’m pretty normal. And B, this whole song writing thing, I do feel more of a songwriter than a singer. In those competitions they are very much built for singers to go out and blast people but I feel I sing my own songs better than I sing other peoples. Never say never but it’s never really been something I’ve found appealing.

With the change of Eurovision team at the BBC this year it feels like it’s going to be a different contest where the UK is concerned and this I feel is very much down to your involvement. What has the reaction been like from the Eurovision fans you’ve met so far? They have been so positive and you can imagine how nervous I was before it came out. I was braced for negativity. I didn’t know what people would think and they’d say ‘Who is this unknown??’ and they might see it as a negative but actually what has been surprising is they seem to see that as a positive. People seem to get what the BBC have tried to do, in giving me a break. When the BBC first got in touch with me and I said I’d give it a go, I’m just going to write a song they really didn’t give me any stipulations apart from it had to be 3 minutes long for the competition. I said to them, even if you don’t go for me I wish it all the best as its a great opportunity for somebody who deserves a break. I guess I’m hoping that if this year it does alright then next year

they’ll do something similar and go with someone who is getting a break.

“We’ve been entering good songs but not necessarily contemporary songs. If you listen to the winners of the last years they have been quite contemporary. That’s something the UK has started to think about” Do you have any ideas why a lot of the UK public dismiss Eurovision as a joke? I think it’s got a lot to do with the kind of songs we’ve entered. We’ve been entering good songs but not necessarily contemporary songs. If you listen to the winners of the last years they have been quite contemporary. That’s something the UK has started to think about. And they like to think it’s all about politics and it’s very new to me and I’m not an expert but I’m not sure it is. If you look at our entries and look at the winners of previous years then you can kind of see why we’ve not won. I think we’ve put in good songs but they’ve not necessarily been right for the competition. I wouldn’t say mine is right and we’ll soon find out! Then it’s the novelty thing, people remember them and you always get them and it makes people see it as a joke. It’d be great if people started to take it seriously. That would be a real achievement. Start Again is out now to download on

iTunes 36 Follow us on Twitter @CoopRespectLGBT

Before your name was announced, there were rumours of all sorts flying around; Geri Halliwell, Jane McDonald and even Paloma Faith – what was it like to hold onto a secret like that? Well it was only 2 or 3 weeks before it was revealed to the world but the hardest thing was not telling my friends. It was hard. It was weird, not telling my friends, you can imagine, not telling your mates, friends and family. But you couldn’t, as then they’d want to tell someone else and be too excited. It was really tough but worth it and when I told them they were so happy.

Tell me about ‘Children of the Universe’? Well it’s inspired by a poem by Max Ehrmann and there is a paragraph in it that goes “You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.” I’ve always found that inspiring and if you’re feeling disconnected I’ve always found it reassuring. Inspired from that. The beginning of the song is when you’re in a place drinking to forget, you might be drinking but you’re not thinking. Then waking up and realising I’m worth more than this and I’m integral to everything that’s happening at this time and just knowing your worth as a human being. You can become disconnected and not realise your worth.

Respect Magazine : May/June 2014

Children of the Universe The debut single : OUT NOW You’ve not yet reached Copenhagen but you’ve been touring about a little as part of the pre-contest campaign. Where have you been in recent weeks?

there’s loads. Armenia, that’s the favourite and that’s a wicked track, prediction wise it’s top class so that’s cool. They are some of my favourites but it’s going to be a really credible competition.

I’ve been to Amsterdam, Malta, Stockholm. To berlin and then ending up in Copenhagen!

Your first performance on the BBC red button was really strong like a “Here I am” moment but can you tell us anything about the treatment the song will get on the big stage in Copenhagen?

You’ve met some of your fellow artists already, how has that been? Wicked, they’re all so nice. Everyone said ‘It’ll be really competitive” and “it’ll be really bitchy” but it’s not been at all. I met the French guys Twin Twin and they’re really good fun. Greece, Freaky Fortune, they’re awesome. Ruth (Lorenzo) wicked girl, amazing singer, really nice. She’s experienced with the press and is a really lovely girl. Everyone’s been really lovely.

From all the competing songs, do you have a favourite? I feel like I’ve got a few favourites and it’s nice within the competition that I’ve a few favourites as it makes me feel it’s a real credible and worthy year. Spain’s is great. I like Malta, think that’s really good. Norway and Silent Storm. God

I can’t tell you anything. It’s a secret. Well there’s all the rules, not more than 6 people on stage, no pre-recorded vocals. Our song is very backing vocal led so you can kinda predict that a lot of the bodies we use will be made up of backing vocals. A little hint.

Ahead of the contest you taped The Graham Norton Show, did you enjoy that and what famous faces did you get to meet? Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, how lucky am I! It was so good. I was scared; it was the first big live tv show I’ve ever done with a settee of A-Listers sat to my right but it was really good fun. They were so nice and I could see them bopping away to 37 Follow us on Twitter @CoopRespectLGBT

the side. Afterwards they were saying it was a wicked song. Hugh Jackman waited after the show to ask who wrote it and when I said me he seemed pretty impressed. Not bad eh!

Eurovision has a massive LGBT following, how have you found their response to you? They are wicked. All the Eurovision fans have been so nice and just ace. I can’t speak highly enough of them. I was so braced for them to be “gurrrrrrr” but I wasn’t expecting the amount of positivity and energy and just loveliness. They’re full of beans, up for a good time and really really great people.

When the Eurovision is all done and dusted, what’s next for you? I’ve got an album deal and that is going to be coming out this year. So after the competition it’s crack on to promoting the album. Gigs; doing my thing. Living the dream really where I can make more music, as that’s all I’ve ever really wanted to do.

Keep connected with Molly @mollysd

Respect Magazine : May/June 2014

We featured the first part of our interview with singer Ryan Dolan in the last issue of ‘Respect’. In this, our second and final part, Ryan lets us know a bit more about his experience representing Ireland at the 2013 Eurovision

Ryan Dolan

Song Contest. You looked like you had a great time representing your home country Ireland at last years Eurovision with your song ‘Only Love Survives’ It was the best experience of my life. I had a great time. Just starting out it was a great opportunity to build my fan-base and go around Europe doing gigs. I would probably do it again if given the chance.

What do you think of this years Irish entry for the contest? I like the song, ‘Heartbeat’ by CanLinn, and I hope it does well. I liked a few of the songs competing this year.

What’s your favourite Eurovision winning song? I love ‘Euphoria’ by Loreen. I love the feel of the song and it’s very anthem like. It’s great. And the vocal is amazing.

Start Again is out now to download on iTunes

Loreen :

Read our

Follow Ryan on Twitter @ryandolanmusic

exclusive interview with her in issue 16 of Respect.

Keep updated at 38 Follow us on Twitter @CoopRespectLGBT

Respect Magazine : May/June 2014

1993 UK Finished 2nd

Sonia 25

Celebrating 25 years since the release of her debut No1 hit ‘You'll Never Stop Me Loving You’ Can you take us back to your start

Waterman was coming to Liverpool to do

So it all kicked off from there I

in music, what was the timeline of

a radio show. I went along to a club in an


events to you making it as a pop star? Ever since I was a kid I loved to sing and dance and when I was knee high to a grasshopper I was always just singing around the house and I’ve got two older sisters and they influenced me a lot. I got to 8 years old and I realised I could really sing. I used to go for competitions and I used to win them! From 9 up to 13 I used to go to drama lessons and singing lessons. That’s when I started to do

afternoon, I went up to him and I pestered him and pestered him. I said to him “If you don’t take me on, if you don’t listen to my voice you’re going to lose out, someone else is gonna sign me up”. He was taken back by the cheekiness of it all. He asked me to come along to one of his Hitman and Her shows. That was it really, went down great at the show and I was asked would I like to sign to PWL.

“I would sell badges,

They had a massive Christmas party, I’d just signed to him and myself and my sister went along to that and it was completely amazing. I was sat at the top table next to Rick Astley, I couldn’t really concentrate at all you know! The following April Pete put a big tour together and I didn’t have a big song at the time, but he said you can still come along, you can still be on the tour. I would sell badges, programmes; just waiting for my big song ‘You’ll Never

programmes; just

Stop Me from Loving You’ to come. And

trying to get as much experience as I

waiting for my big song

you in the studio, he’s got a song for you”

could really. Sending my demos off to

‘You’ll Never Stop Me

demos, all types of different tunes to try and get my equity card at the time. I was

people and trying to get as much experience as I possibly could. Then I got little parts on Bread and Brookside and that was when I realised that Mr Pete

from Loving You’ to come” 39 Follow us on Twitter @CoopRespectLGBT

then one day he said “Son, Matt wants and I went along, recorded it and then a couple of weeks later I was on the roadshow myself singing my very own song.

Respect Magazine : May/June 2014 It must have been great fun; did you enjoy it all at such a young age?

concept, it really was.

Did you have a favourite of the

venue on your visit? I loved the venue, a lovely venue. At that time Ireland were running high with

It was extremely exciting, being so young

eight songs you performed on BBC

winning and it was wonderful being in

but it went so quick, like a whirlwind. It

One to pick the Song for Europe?

Ireland. We got a wonderful reception,

was very hard work, promotion,

There was a song called “My World”, a

promotion, promotion all over Europe,

lovely song, a ballad and I was convinced

everywhere, every single day. It was

that was going to do it. The words were

fantastic, I moved down to London, got

lovely, very uplifting all about …this is

my own flat. I was travelling the world,

our world and we have to look after it. Of

having a ball.

course they went with the bubbly up-

You also got to visit a scenic spot

tempo one which was “Better the Devil”

to film the pre performance video

What would you say would be

which was the clear clear winner for ‘A

postcard, how was that for you?

your proudest moment at that

Song for Europe’.

It was lovely; although I went in a

time? I suppose getting that number 1 at 18

“I suppose getting that

years old, on Top of the Pops. I couldn’t

number 1 at 18 years

believe it, I had to pinch myself all day that I was there. That was a moment but there have been lots of different highlights, but that one was the oh my goodness, I’m number one, I can’t believe it I’m on Top of the Pops, I used to watch it every week without fail and it

we had a ball. Every night we went to a different countries hotel, all mixing together, having a great time. I even went to the pictures in Cork!

helicopter but me and helicopters don’t mix, so I actually felt quite sick. Luckily once we were back safe on the ground I was ok.

old, on Top of the Pops. I couldn’t believe it, I had to pinch myself all day that I was there.”

was completely amazing.

Once ‘Better the devil you know” You worked very hard throughout

was picked and you were set to

the late 80’s and into the early

represent the UK in Ireland what

90’s. How did you get involved in

kind of preparations did you do

‘A Song for Europe’ 1993?

ahead of travelling to the contest

I received a call from my agent and he

in Millstreet?

said the BBC had been onto him and they’d love Sonia to represent us in 1993 and I thought - oh my goodness me. I just couldn’t turn it down, a wonderful thing to be asked to do, I felt so proud. Every Saturday night on TV I had a showcase with Terry Wogan and it was a massive deal, all the songs were chosen and then whittled down. Also I got to sing completely live every week which is a thing I wanted to do because obviously coming from the Stock Aiken Waterman

It was constant press and promotion, going on all the shows. Obviously going over the number lots of times, choreography, sorting out what I was going to wear. It was a constant thing, everybody wanted to know all about it and it was chaos really but wonderful chaos.

In 1993 the Eurovision was staged in a converted show jumping

camp a lot of the time you had to mime

arena in a rural farming town in

because the sound of the song they

County Cork, just two hours’ drive

wanted just like the record so. It was

from my family home. The country

those things and the audience, millions

was abuzz with the excitement of

and millions of people. An exciting

it all. Were you impressed with the 40 Follow us on Twitter @CoopRespectLGBT

Eurovision fact: "Better the Devil You Know" took the second-place slot with 164 points. Belgium, Iceland, Austria and Israel gave the UK 12 points that evening. This was the last of four occasions the UK ranked second in the voting since 1988. The song peaked at No15 in the UK singles chart.

Respect Magazine : May/June 2014

SONIA 25 How did the rehearsals go and did

done that. I said to my sister “you know

I saw you perform at Manchester

the song change much from the

what, I think we’ve got a good chance

Pride 2012. Your LGBT fans do you

studio to the live orchestral version? It was less pop-py. Nigel Wright (X Factor Musical Director) recorded the single as well so we went more earthy and stronger and the backing vocals were stronger as well. It’s wonderful because my sister, the blonde girl, did my backing

here”. I felt I’d done it to the upmost. I didn’t go out of tune, I’d kept everything Nigel said and I thoroughly enjoyed it and I think that showed. I felt 100% when I came off stage.

You finished a very respectable second place behind Ireland on

vocals and it was lovely to have her

the night. Looking back, what did

beside me. In every rehearsal Nigel

you take from the whole

would say “Son, no ad lib, keep it poppy,

Eurovision experience?

keep it strict to the chorus, wham them

I felt immense pride, so so proud to have

with it”. The rehearsals went extremely well. We particularly concentrated on the camera angles. Every time a camera came around we would change position and tried to make sure I could get as much contact with the camera at all times as possible. Every time between camera runs we got to see the rehearsal tape and we then saw we could improve on that, we could do it. Jeff Thacker was the choreographer who is massive now in the industry and has worked with so many big names, he was wonderful, very calming. I think we were all in a great frame of mind for the competition and I think going 19th (in the running order) was an excellent position because you’re in a great place to go from.

On the night you gave it your all, were you happy with the

been asked to start with but then to come so close as well. It was just the best feeling. It was amazing to think that all those millions of people around the world had watched it as well. It’s going to go down in history which is unbelievable. I remember being 10 years old for Bucks Fizz and Making Your Mind Up and I loved that song and it’s still my favourite to this day. To think that all years later I’d be nearly winning the thing, it’s really an amazing feeling and I’m so proud I did it.

Have you still followed Eurovision, I expect euro fans are fans for life? Oh yeah my goodness me everybody loves the Eurovision. I do so many shows every year because of the Eurovision. It’s

feel they have they played a big part in your ongoing career? Massive, massive support. Just wonderful loyalty, never ends, fantastic support and I love seeing everyone all the time, it’s lovely.

Have you heard the UK entry for 2014, Molly’s Children of the Universe? I have and you know what I think it’s got a good chance. As soon as the hook comes in “Children of the Universe” I think it’s got a really really good chance. I always go by the first time I hear a song cause that’s all viewers have really. Less than 3 minutes. I said to my husband “that’s got a good chance that” Keeping my fingers crossed for her and she’s wrote it herself so good luck to her.

What’s next for Sonia? I’m constantly gigging, last year I did lots of Rewinds, massive festivals all over the country. This year I’m doing all the Rock the Moors as well. I’ve got quite a few Eurovision shows to do as well. Keeping busy and juggling that with my little girl as well. Chocka Chocka all the time!

got a massive massive following. To this day we still watch it, if I’m gigging we tape it and watch it back with our score


sheets and do our thing and our points.

Yes I did, completely did. I thought to

It’s a great family competition.

myself there wasn’t one ounce of nerves and I knew that was the best I could have 41 Follow us on Twitter @CoopRespectLGBT

Keep updated with all things Sonia related at

Respect Magazine : May/June 2014

HotSaltBeef: Serving the local & global Jewish LGBT community HotSaltBeef, an exclusive and completely inclusive social networking site for Jewish LGBT (JLGBT) people, was launched on Sunday 6th April 2014. After noticing a gap in the market for a networking site that integrates the social, cultural and community aspects of Jewish life specifically aimed at JLBT people, Founder Allan Davis took a

part of Jewish culture. All the major Jewish festival revolves around the family sitting together for a big meal... It’s what brings us together. And therein lays the philosophy behind HotSaltBeef: Family, safety, connection, community, conversation, comfort, love and belonging. Being an exclusive social networking site for JLGBT people may seem like a shortcoming at first, but the truth is there are certain things that are so uniquely Jewish that we need a space where we can connect and converse comfortably without having to provide a ‘backstory’... We sometimes want to 'kibbitz' (gossip) in a chat room and 'kvetch' (complain) about the rising house prices, without feeling the need to explain what we are actually doing.

In terms of future developments, HotSaltBeef will soon include a Business Directory for members to promote their own business or to recommend a business that may

local and global online community, make business connections and perhaps even find love.

being Jewish. Who doesn’t like a Hot Salt Beef Sandwich? It’s something every Jewish person instantly associates with — it brings back memories of comfort, familiarity, belonging... and well, food. Food forms a big

‘HotSaltBeef and Mustard’ is the newsletter and blog section, bringing news and views from around the world. The aim is to involve members from across the globe to contribute with their reviews, travel tips, fresh and relevant news events and historical insights to strengthen the fabric of our online community.

leap of faith and created HotSaltBeef — a social networking platform for JLGBT people where they can celebrate the things that connect them at their core, build a

Hot Salt Beef is woven into the fabric of

about ‘sex’ or about posting photos of your tuchas (or any other revealing bits) for the world to see.

Apart from that, because of our displacement throughout history, Jewish people have an almost genetic urge to build communities and find a ‘place called home’. HotSaltBeef has the potential to provide that sense of togetherness and 'home- coming' online... And that’s why HotSaltBeef is ‘keeping kosher’. Instead of having a single focus — being a dating site only — HotSaltBeef is more like the bakery in a Jewish neighborhood... a place where you get your bagels, perhaps bump into your lawyer or doctor and if you like, flirt with the 'Shaineh maidel' (beautiful young lady) behind the counter. The dating element is still there but the focus is much more on community building — it is not

42 Follow us on Twitter @CoopRespectLGBT

interest the community, and also host a classifieds section to sell anything from rare Barbara Streisand CDs to advertising holiday accommodation. While the site is still in its teething-phase, membership is limited to ‘invitation only’ and the first 500 members who sign up will receive a FREE lifetime membership. For more information about signing up, visit the link below: facebook: hotsaltbeef twitter: @hotsaltbeef

Respect Magazine : May/June 2014


Billie Jean - Founder of Glamazon

Finally Manchester has a monthly club night for the transgender community, their friends and their admirers...

Glamazon The new club night promises to be a night of divine fabulosity in the heart of Manchester's LGBT Village, at the fantastic new Richmond Street venue, The Back Door. Every effort is being made to ensure that Glamazon is a safe space for people to relax, party and meet people. From 11pm the Glamazon club event swings open its doors with guest DJ's playing dance classics, Village anthems, handbag hits and chart tunes all the way through until 4am. There shall be guest performers too as well as our Glamazon dancers and our very own Sashsay Runway for all you wannabe divas. There is plenty of seating in the club for those who want to chat and there will also be our Glam Squad on hand with emergency make up supplies. The guys at The Back Door are ensuring that there will be a secure changing area for those who wish to get ready at the club.   Look out for our own photographer who will be on hand to capture all the fun too.   Dress code: Glam by name, Glam by nature... Dress to impress.   GLAMAZON IS RUN BY TGIRLS FOR TGIRLS, THEIR FRIENDS AND THEIR ADMIRERS. Find out more at

Feel free to end us details of events you think our readers would be interested in. Send the info to

RAISE NEARLY £1,000 FROM THEIR ANNUAL JAMBOREE The Jamboree, which takes place outside the Brighton Tavern every year around April time, involves a home-baked cake sale, a tombola and a second-hand book store. It relies on the generosity of its members and supporters through donating their time, effort and baking skills to raise money for charity. Chris Sarson, a trustee for Brighton Gay Men’s Chorus at employee at The Co-operative Funeralcare, said: “We had an amazing amount of cakes this year so a big thank you to all the wonderful bakers we have in the Chorus and also the many

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friends of the Chorus who have donated cakes and other items to us this year.” Charlie Bedson, who is a member for the Chorus and helped with the organisation of the Jamboree, said: “On top of everything, we would particularly like to thank Eclipse Foods, Raise and the Pelican On Port for their generously proportioned and rather delicious cakes.” The funds raised will go towards helping the Chorus, a registered charity, in pursuing its charitable activities and objectives. The Chorus is proudly sponsored by The Co-operative Funeralcare. Find out more at

Respect Respect Magazine Magazine ::May/June May/June2014 2014

Colleague Support In your workplace

If you are able to speak to your line manager, that would be the preferred route (unless of course your line manager is the issue). Alternatively, you can speak to your HR manager if this is preferable.


You can also contact the Respect network for confidential support and guidance. Email us at

The Employee Engagement & Diversity Team

The team can offer advice about specific matters relating to issues in the workplace and point you in the right direction. You can contact them by email at or call 0161 246 2646.

Employee Assistance Programme Validium

You can contact and talk in confidence with one of Validium’s professional counsellors or specialists 24 hours a day, 365 days a year on: UK Landline: 0800 970 1030 Mobile: 0330 332 9996 For online support join vClub at Username: Coop Password: Group1844

Speak Up

We have a whistle-blowing hotline called ‘Speak Up’. You can call free on 0800 374199. Calls are handled by an external provider. Callers can remain anonymous and untraceable.

Useful development tools at your fingertips The Co-operative Group Ashridge virtual learning centre contains everything from learning guides to book reviews, management pocket books and economic trend data. Please visit the site as it’s a great reference point to assist your personal continuous professional development journey. Site: Login: cooperativegroup Password: coglogin If for what ever reason you can’t view this and you would like to, please let us know.

Our next issue will be published in July 2014 This magazine has been produced by the ‘Respect’ network, the inclusive lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) network for The Co-operative Group W: T: @CoopRespectLGBT E: 44 Follow us on Twitter @CoopRespectLGBT News | Events | Charity | Fundraising | Inclusive | Respect | Diversity | Volunteer

Issue 27 Respect Magazine  

In this issue of the award winning Respect network's magazine, we bring you our very special annual 'Eurovision Song Contest' feature. We ha...