Respect Magazine - April 2016

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Straight ally programme Life as an LGBT parent LGBT History Month And much more... T hei nc l us i v eL GBTNe t wor kf or

Respect Magazine ● May 2016

e m o c l e w Editors’ welcome

Welcome to Respect, the magazine for the UK's most LGBT friendly retailer, The Co-operative.



Respect meets...Jen Yockney

We talk heroes, campaigning and project BiPhoria


A word from This edition's editors, Amelia Cargo and Ben Brosnan

Dam Right


Rachel Machin tells us about her fun-filled family break in Amsterdam

The Co-op is working with the British Red Cross to

Time to Sparkle

tackle loneliness across the UK. On Wednesday 27 April we took part in #digitalpride, an event that looks at social isolation from an LGBT perspective. Missed out? Check out the hashtag to join in the conversation.

Beckie Fox talks allies, role models and why this year’s Sparkle will be the best yet

Transgender Day of Visibility has been and gone for this year. We marked the occasion by announcing that we’re once again sponsoring the Sparkle Weekend. In

What's the big deal about David Bowie?

Lara pays tribute to the Starman

this issue, we’ve got Beckie Fox, chair of Sparkle, talking about her experiences and why our support means so much.

Family Values

This magazine is written by colleagues, for colleagues, so a big thank you to Paula Barclay, Lara Wilson, Rachel Machin, Sean Walsh and Hazel Remeika who have all contributed to this issue. We’re always looking for contributions, so send any ideas to

Hazel Remeika tells us about her path to parenthood

Coming Out as an Ally

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e: ● t @CoopRespectLGBT

Paula Barclay tells us what being an ally means to her

and more...

Dijk Studio Apartment, owned by the

Respect Magazine ● May 2016


lovely bohemian Bennie who lived upstairs, was an idyllic riverside spot to escape the bustle after a long day.

Ri ght

What to do Vondelpark, the largest park in Amsterdam, was a must. I’d spent many lazy summers there and knew the vast expanse of loveliness would


be perfect for the boys. Plenty of green space, cafes and the coolest swings, and bang slap in the middle of some fantastic museums and galleries: Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh museum. The queue was so long for the famous painter’s masterpieces that we chose Stedelijkmuseum. It's famous for its fantastic collection of modern and contemporary art. Nemo ( was the best science museum we’ve been to anywhere – hours of fun for all ages. A Canal Cruise or hiring a MokumBoot – an environmentally-friendly motorised boat – is a great

Amsterdam might not be top of your weekend break list when you’ve got a young family in tow, but Rachel Machin took her two boys for a fun-filled four days and found a city full of fun for all ages. Amsterdam was the destination of choice for me in my early

way when your little ones are tired of stomping around. For football fanatics - my three boys, including Dad the Amsterdam Arena was the highlight of the trip. We got to see Ajax thrash some other team 7-0. “When are we going again,” said my youngest as we left Manchester Airport. Here’s to my sixth visit!.

20s. The beautiful buildings, the rows of ‘proper’ bikes and the freedom in what truly felt like a ‘free’ city. That sense of freedom and diversity was highlighted in April when the city celebrated the 15th anniversary of the first legal same-sex marriage in the world, with 20,000 couples tying the knot since 2001.

Where to stay We chose a gorgeous studio apartment a ten-minute busride out of the centre as our temporary home.

e: ● t @CoopRespectLGBT

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Respect Magazine ● May 2016

e: ● t @CoopRespectLGBT

Respect Magazine ● May 2016

Respect meets … Jen Yockney Jen Yockney is a prominent bisexual campaigner based in Manchester. She tells us about her heroes and what life's like as an awardwinning activist. You’ve recently won the LGBT Foundation “Hero” Award as Volunteer of the Year. Can you tell us a bit about what you do? I guess the obvious thing is that I persistently volunteer! My main projects are Bi Community News, BiPhoria (the UK's oldest bi support group), the website and the Bisexual


History Project. There have been other projects and events along the way too. Some of these things I’ve been doing for 20 odd years, some are more recent. I also spend too long on Facebook like everyone else. Because – bit of a secret this – even award-winning bisexuals are made out of humans.

campaigning often at quite some personal risk year in, year out before that and ever since – and is still active in LGBT work in Leicester today after all this time. The other one is Kate Bornstein, whose

Who would be on your list of LGBT Heroes?

books on trans in the 1990s were an oasis

Bernard Greaves, who organised the first

have much web access it was a lifeline to

gay rights (as it then was!) meeting at a

find others talking about gender beyond a

party political conference at the Liberal

simple binary, and challenging the wisdom

Assembly back in 1971. He has been

that being trans was shameful.

in a desert. Back then when people didn’t

e: ● t @CoopRespectLGBT

Respect Magazine ● May 2016

You’ve been involved with BiPhoria for over 20 years. What do you think has changed in that time? Back in the day you only found bi support and space through luck. We had posters in gay venues and queer-friendly cafes, but really, you had to know people. The web changes a lot of that, as do things like our Getting Bi In A Gay / Straight World resource being out there. We’ve shifted over 15,000 copies of that so far – unimaginable back in the 1990s! But in the moment of crisis or isolation people still need real people more than they need the web. So now attendees are perhaps more coming along with questions that are really difficult to answer any other way than face to face.

So, what started you off as a bisexual campaigner? I worked out that I was bi and trans, and went to trans spaces and bi spaces looking for friends, support and room to explore all the stuff going on in my head. Peculiarly I found

And like a lot of volunteering, if it more or less fits your personality it becomes habit-forming. That’s a sly note for anyone wanting to volunteer, by the by: do the stuff you enjoy, it’s much easier to keep on doing it that way.

diversity than the trans spaces – so I wound

And you were recently made an honorary Vice President of LGBT+ Liberal Democrats?

up trying to nurture bi spaces and projects.

That was very kind of them - I was their Chair

the bi spaces more accepting of gender

some years ago so have a tiny hand in the same-sex marriage legislation that way too. For over 350 years they’ve been the party of the right to be different from the person next to you, through each iteration of those battles – faith, slavery, apartheid, queer rights and so forth.

The list of things you do is huge. What keeps you going? I do wonder at times! But you meet people six months or ten years on whose lives were changed by having that space, that support, and it reminds you of how lost you were when you needed that help too: it’s a huge human connection thing.

e: ● t @CoopRespectLGBT

Respect Magazine ● May 2016

What’s the big deal about

David Bowie? Before you hate me – this isn’t a criticism – it’s a genuine question from someone who hasn’t really encountered David Bowie’s music, and who found him super creepy in Labyrinth (his sprayed on trousers meant his crotch had a life of its own, and it thoroughly freaked me out the first time I saw it on a giant cinema screen).

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So, I’ve been asked to write about him, and this is turning into a personal quest to understand someone hailed by many as a great man, and a LGBT Hero. I am writing this hoping to be enlightened, and definitely keeping an open mind. I am, however, feeling under a lot of pressure, as everyone loves Bowie, right?

He was an innovator - In September 1996, David

During my extensive, no-expenses paid research (trawl of

Bowie broke new ground, yet again, with the internet-

the Internet), I’ve found out quite a few interesting things

only release of his single Telling Lies. It would have

– maybe some of these will surprise you too…

taken more than 11 minutes to download over a dial-up

David Bowie cared about the long-haired - At the age of 17, he was interviewed on a BBC programme as the founder of ‘The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Long-haired Men’. He complained: "It's not nice when people call you darling and that."

He was often on another planet - Bowie's first hit in the UK - 1969's Space Oddity - was used by the BBC in its coverage of the moon landing.

internet connection! A year later, he launched his own internet service provider, Bowienet, which eventually shut down in 2006 as it couldn’t keep up with the rapid advances in internet technology.

He didn’t feel defined or constrained by his sexuality - David Bowie came out as gay in 1972, as bisexual in 1976; and, years later, walked it all back with a statement that he had been a “closet heterosexual.” What I gather from posts in the wake of

He was passionate about marine life – voicing the

Bowie’s death is that he helped LGBT people feel

character of ‘Lord Royal Highness’ in US cartoon

accepted as there were so many facets of his

SpongeBob SquarePants in 2007.

personality (whether David or his alter ego Ziggy

He had a sense of humour – he appeared as himself

Stardust) that they could identify with. In a post titled

in ‘Extras’ with Ricky Gervais – after Gervais’ character tries to talk to him in a VIP area, he suddenly feels inspired to write a song called ‘chubby little loser’ and sings it to the whole bar (it’s on You Tube and it’s very

“David Bowie allowed you be to gay,” Arnold Wayne Jones in the wrote, “Don’t fool yourself: Stonewall may have been the start of the gay rights movement, but without Bowie, can you imagine it would have gained traction in every corner of society?”


He could multi task – he was in ten bands - The

I have to admit, after reading up on Bowie I can see

Konrads, The Hooker Brothers, The King Bees, The

why he was such a big deal. He seems fascinating;

Manish Boys, The Lower Third, The Buzz, The Riot

someone who would be great fun at a party and would

Squad, The Hype, Tin Machine and Tao Jones Index

keep you entertained with all his crazy stories and how

(some of these performed under other names).

much he has achieved.

e: ● t @CoopRespectLGBT

Respect Magazine ● May 2016

Time to

Sparkle Transgender Day of Visibility falls on 31 March every year and is dedicated to celebrating the achievements of trans people worldwide, whilst still recognising the discrimination they face every day. Here, Beckie Fox, chair of the transgender charity Sparkle, talks about being visible and the importance of allies to the trans community.


Although dealing with the general public has sometimes been challenging, I’m lucky that my family has been really supportive of me. I’m not saying that it hasn’t been difficult for them, but they have shown me love and support I needed and that has made such a difference. Unfortunately, this is not the same for everyone and some of the stats are truly shocking – over 40% of trans people attempt suicide, for example, and homelessness amongst trans youth is at a record high.

Allies matter I never used the word trans until recently, but I've

Allies are really important to the trans community.

known I was on the transgender spectrum since I was

Society must and will change – and it is down to

a teenager (even though those weren’t the words I

everyone to help make that change happen. Challenge

used at the time). It wasn't until the last couple of

hate when you see or hear it – even in general

years that I realised that being completely ‘out’ would

conversation - and just treat trans people like any other

have a positive impact on me and those around me.

person. And remember, if you meet someone and you

Socially, I had been transitioning for a few years,

are not quite sure of their gender identity – don’t panic!

however, but only presented as male in work. I only

Just ask them their name and that will be a big clue to

'officially' came out at work as trans from a national

the pronouns you should probably be using.

media interview that was picked up by colleagues. I took the opportunity to simplify my life, having two names is pain. So I took some time off work (best thing I ever did), and I changed my name in December 2015. I've never looked back since.

Support makes the difference In the last six months I’ve been the victim of four hate crimes. Just from being me. Imagine if that was you – being called offensive names just because of what you were wearing or how you looked? It’s simply not acceptable. Hate crimes are the result of ignorant and uneducated people and even though society has become more accepting of difference, there is still a

I’ve been involved with Sparkle for over 10 years and was one of the founding trustees when it became a charity back in 2010. One of the many things we do is organise the Sparkle Weekend, one of the biggest trans pride events in the world. Taking place between 8 and 10 July, it provides a safe space for people to express and explore their gender. The Co-op has supported Sparkle for a number of years now and I’m really happy to see that you’re supporting again. It would be amazing to see you all there – it’s not just for trans people, but their friends, families and allies as well. You can find out more on our website.

long way to go until trans people feel truly accepted in society.

e: ● t @CoopRespectLGBT

Respect Magazine ● May 2016

Coming out as an ally

Paula Barclay works in our HR team and is also on the Respect steering group. In this issue she talks about how we all have a role to play in creating an equal society and what being an ally means to her. Ally - a (typically) straight and/or cisgender person who supports members of the LGBT community. The term straight ally can encompass a whole spectrum of activism, but most importantly a straight ally recognises the fact that it is not the sole responsibility of LGBT individuals to create an inclusive culture.


Many straight celebrities have found ways to publicly show their support, such as Charlize Theron

identity, has a role to play in making the world a

and Lena Dunham both stating they wouldn’t want

fairer place to live.

to marry until gay marriage was legal and Brad Pitt donating $100,000 to the fight against Proposition 8, the now overturned constitutional amendment to

So what does being an ally mean in the workplace?

eliminate the rights of same-sex couples to marry in

The British LGBT Awards also have a category for


Corporate Straight Ally, you can find this year’s shortlist on their website which showcases great

Strong LGBT rights advocates Daniel Radcliffe and

examples of senior leaders making an impact in

Lorraine Kelly were celebrated as joint winners of

their business through being a visible ally and

Celebrity Straight Ally of the Year at the 2015 British

championing good working practices. However,

LGBT Awards and Eddie Redmayne recently made

anyone can be an ally, whether you are entry level

waves playing Lili Elbe in the Danish Girl.

or the CEO!

Furthermore, who doesn’t envy the friendship and antics of Sirs’ Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen!

A poll of over 2,000 straight people across Britain, commissioned by Stonewall and conducted by

However, those of us without star status can often

YouGov, found that 9 out of 10 people supported

underestimate the massive impact we can have by

legal protections against homophobic discrimination

just being a visible ally in our day-to-day lives.

at work. This highlights the scale of potential

Everyone, no matter their sexuality or gender

straight allies in our workplaces.

e: ● t @CoopRespectLGBT

Respect Magazine ● May 2016

Check out Stonewall’s top tips for more guidance: 1. Challenge homophobic behaviour. This type of negative workplace culture affects everyone in an organisation, especially when disguised as ‘banter’. As a business, we do not tolerate homophobic, biphobic or transphobic behaviour. In Co-op’s own Respect (Bullying & harassment) Policy we have specifically defined LGBT bullying and harassment Leaders who role model their own values towards LGBT equality not only influence policy and culture but can also create a platform for

2. Become a member or friend of the colleague LGBT network 3. Hold colleagues to account on what

others to be heard. For those in non-

they are doing to advance LGBT

management positions, being an ally can mean

equality at work, this is one of the

active engagement in LGBT and Pride events,

most effective tools that straight allies

but also other subtle expressions of support


through the types of conversations had with colleagues and the language used.

4. Attend or support Pride events – The Co-op is supporting a number of Prides this year. Get in touch with the

My experiences as an ally Personally, I have been overwhelmed by the

Respect team to find out more 5. Don’t be afraid of saying the wrong

welcome of my LGBT colleagues and working

thing, just ask LGBT colleagues and

alongside the Respect steering group has been

friends for advice

an amazing and eye-opening experience. Above all I’ve learnt that a respectful, open and inclusive working environment benefits

6. Be yourself. For inspiration on how to be an effective ally you need only reflect on your own personal values.


Ask yourself, and your colleagues,

Being an ally is easy The word ally sounds very formal, but really it boils down to being a good friend to the LGBT community. You could become a member of

how would you like to be treated at work? 7. Keep up to date with current LGBT issues

Respect, for example, or attend a Pride event near you.

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Respect Magazine ● May 2016

Family values

a k i e m e Hazel R

One of the things that greater equality has brought us is the ability to have children, whether that be through adoption or through IVF, both of which are now available to LGBT people. Hazel Remeika talked to us about her path to parenthood and her experience as the non-biological mother of her five year old son. I never wanted children when I was younger. I'm not

Hazel and Bean

sure if it was because from an early age I knew I was gay, so in my mind, it wasn't possible, or that despite what society makes us think, not all women want to carry a child.

It was on our first date that B told me she wanted children, so if I didn't then we didn't have a future together! So very lesbian, and bizarrely I didn't run a mile. With 11 nephews and nieces, I'd been surrounded by children, so whilst I never had wanted to carry a child, I loved children and knew that even though this hadn't been on the cards originally, it wasn't a deal breaker for a new relationship.

Making a baby It actually took six years for us to get around to

fertility treatment and I would be recognised as

trying for a baby. Our careers were just

the other parent on the baby’s birth certificate.

starting, and there was the tricky question of

It had taken longer to get to this stage than we

how we would father the child to deal with. B

had expected, but it felt like the right way

had a long standing agreement with her best


friend that they would have a child together. But, after a very frank discussion, it soon

We had a final, exciting road trip and entered

became evident that our expectations of co-

into a Civil Partnership which meant that I

parenting were very different and we realised

would automatically had parental responsibility,

this probably wasn't the best option. We

a very low key affair with two witnesses and a

looked into other options, and then the laws

lot of champagne. We started fertility

around fertility treatment for same sex couples

treatment in the summer of 2010, this meant

changed, meaning I would be recognised as

we had a few attempts before Christmas and if

the other parent on the baby's birth certificate.

we had no joy, could enjoy the festivities

Laws changed which meant we could have

before trying again.

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Respect Magazine ● May 2016

Family values

Getting pregnant The experience itself was possibly the least romantic of my life, very clinical and over in seconds, then back to reality and the day ahead. The wait was the most painfully long time, we cracked and did a test after four weeks. The day we did the test was a mix of pure joy and fear! The reality that I would possibly have a small child dependant on me, and the blue line to indicate B was pregnant and we possibly might actually be parents was actually very surreal. The eight week scan showed a small bean like shape with a rapidly beating heart... And that was the start of Baby Bean. All was well at 12 weeks, 20 weeks revealed Bean was a boy and halted the angst of a girl’s name which we had been struggling over. The day Baby Bean was born was the scariest and most exhilarating day of my life. Due to complications I had Bean for the first 72 hours on the pre-natal ward (yes pre natal, I don't think they knew what to do with me....), the one benefit of being a woman was that I was able to stay on the ward as men aren't allowed to do this.

Being the non-biological mum was never something I worried about. I knew this wouldn't affect how much I love my son, but it it sometimes affects how people react, or certainly challenges their presumptions. But really, my experience to date have been positive, especially how my manager at the time supported me when I needed additional parental leave from work following Bean being born. The biggest challenge I have faced being the non-biological

Being a Mum

mum, is that most people presume that you

Being a parent is both the hardest and most

carried your child (understandably), this felt

rewarding experience of my life. Knowing I

more difficult when I took Baby Bean to baby

have the same rights as any other parents

and mother groups as I felt I needed to explain!

and that I am recognised as Bean's other

Most sessions would start with initial

parent makes me glad to have been

conversations with other new mums, mostly

involved with equality marches throughout

around experiences of child birth as the most

my time at university. I still feel passionate

obvious 'shared experience. As I hadn't had this

about equality and diversity and believe that

experience, this usually resulted in the need to

the fight continues so that the rights we

out myself and provide a long explanation as to

enjoy in the UK are extended across the

how Bean was carried, which was often quite

world. To see countries like Lithuania,

awkward! But as I write this, I am preparing for

where my family originates, introduce laws

Bean's 5th birthday and this rarely comes up

that are the equivalent to Section 28

now. Time certainly does fly when you are having

demonstrates that our struggle is far from

fun. I feel very fortunate to have an amazing,


funny, quirky boy to call my son.

e: ● t @CoopRespectLGBT

Respect Magazine ● May 2016

A whole lot of . . .


When people think of LGBT history, they tend to think of the recent past; the Stonewall riots, marriage equality and…Elton John. But there is so much more to it than that. In celebration of LGBT history month Sean Walsh, gives us a whistle stop tour of LGBT history throughout the ages

Why history is important today When in Rome…

With the way that the current state of the

You can go right back to ancient times and find

community is – with anti-LGBTQ laws in place in

examples of LGBT culture; Ancient Greece and Rome

many countries, horrendous attacks and even

are probably the best and most-well known examples of

murders of people of whose only crime is to be

this. Elsewhere, Emperor Ai of the Han Dynasty – who

different from them – it is sometimes good to

ruled China from 7-1 BC – wanted to pass the throne to

look back at where we have been and to see what

his male partner Dong Xian, Japanese kabuki theatre

lessons can be learnt.

often dealt with the theme of homosexuality and the Native Americans had Two-Spirits, tribespeople with

And in such dark times, it is also good to look

both male and female spirits in the same body.

back at the good times we have had how far we have come. We have had a lot of positives; marriage and gender equality is on the rise, representation in popular culture has never been more visible and with The Golden Girls still on repeat, overall we have it pretty good. We have still have a long way to go, but this is nothing new. Maybe by looking at the past and at different cultures, we can take some of the better parts and implement them into our own.

e: ● t @CoopRespectLGBT

Respect Magazine ● May 2016

l l a w e n o t S update

At the end of March, a couple of members of the Respect steering group caught up with Stonewall to discuss how we’re doing in terms of LGBT matters and how we can make our plans for the rest of the 2016 and beyond the best they can be.

One of the things we talked about was the results of the colleague survey. Nearly 200 colleagues filled in the questionnaire, so thanks to everyone who took part. Although individual responses are anonymous, we received a high level overview and thought it would be good to share some of the findings with you:

l 84% of LGB respondents feel able to be themselves in the workplace l Around 85% of both LGB and straight respondents would feel comfortable declaring their sexuality or gender identity on a monitoring form l 80% of LGB respondents think our workplace culture is inclusive of gay and 43% believe it’s inclusive of trans people l 82% of LGB respondents and 89% of straight respondents believe sexual orientation isn’t a barrier to career progression l In terms of role models, 30% of LGB respondents think that there are visible lesbian role models in The Coop, 13% think there are visible bi role models and 10% think there are visible trans role models 2016’s survey will open in the Autumn, but if you have any feedback, or want to know more about the survey or the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index itself, please email us at


e: ● t @CoopRespectLGBT

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