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We’re proud to be supporting the LGBTQ+ community with our limited-edition statement T-shirts, modelled here by some of the M&S team. There are 12 tees in the range, but it doesn’t stop there – we’re donating £10,000 to akt, the national LGBTQ+ youth homelessness charity, to fund their life-changing work with young people

Chris Johnson, store assistant, Woolwich Foodhall

“I will be celebrating Pride in Manchester with my friends and colleagues from M&S. Every year we pick a fancy dress theme and this year it’s ‘looking back in time’. I’m going to borrow some of my dad’s clothes that he wore when he was my age. We will be taking inspiration from the 1980s and reflecting on the struggles that took place during that decade. I have also recently joined colleagues in volunteering with akt, a service that provides shelter, support and mentoring for young LGBTQ+ people experiencing homelessness or living in hostile environments. We helped to paint and decorate one of the organisation’s safe houses – it was great to see the important work the trust does first-hand.”

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Kath Lovell, store manager, Chelsea Simply Food

“For me, there is something incredibly powerful about spending time with my LGBTQ+ colleagues. Pride events offer an opportunity to be together in solidarity, to catch up, to meet new faces and create a sense of togetherness. Most notably, I am proud to be attending Sparkle weekend in Manchester – a festival specifically for the trans, non-binary/gender fluid and intersex community. M&S will be hoping to build upon last year’s success of engaging with individuals in the trans and queer communities, demonstrating that it is a diverse and welcoming retailer. The fact that M&S has inclusivity profoundly at its heart makes it a business that I feel safe to work in and proud to work for.”

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James Overstall, solicitor in the M&S legal team

“Pride represents an opportunity to celebrate unashamedly who we are. Pride events are times for celebration: full of joy, connection, colour and life. But Pride is also an occasion to reflect on the huge advances in equality achieved through brave campaigning over the years – 2019 marks 50 years since the Stonewall Inn riots in Greenwich Village, New York, a pivotal moment for us. Pride is also about remembering that prejudice, shame and stigma continue to exist and helping to further break down barriers, including towards our bisexual and trans family. Much work remains to be done, so Pride is an important time for us to unite and demonstrate the strength of our community.”

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Victoria McKenzie-Gould, corporate communications director

“As sponsor for the LGBTQ+ diversity and inclusivity network at M&S, my role is to champion, promote and support the colleague group and its activities, and to be a visible role model for equality in the business, helping to ensure our culture allows everyone to reveal their true selves at work. On a personal level, it matters because I believe that everyone should be free to be themselves and to love whomever they love, but also as a business we are more successful when everyone’s full potential is realised.”

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Interviews: Dulcie Emerson / Images: Michael Gayton / Styling: Tamala Ayres

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