24 June, 2019

Showing solidarity with our LGBTQ+ colleagues at Pride 2019

Diversity is at the heart of M&S. Celebrating and appreciating our people's differences is what makes M&S such a great place to work. This year, in support of our LGBTQ+ Colleagues, we took to the streets to proudly participate in the Pride March 2019.

David, a Communications Manager at M&S and co-chair of our LGBTQ+ network, participated in M&S’s first Pride march in London four years ago. “It was a lovely sunny day in July,” he recalls. “I met so many amazing people with their own story and reasons for being there. We now have over 800 colleagues who use their passion and energy to shape the future of LGBTQ+ inclusion within M&S.”

This year, we’re waving the rainbow flag on at least 10 Pride marches, which began in Birmingham. There, one of our stores dedicated a window display to the march; it exhibited coloured hearts featuring the names of people from across our business and the names of their loved ones. And we will be doing the same in 15 other stores, who will celebrate in their own cities, these include Manchester, Belfast and London.

But questions have been asked – ‘Are big companies like M&S supporting Pride events just because they have to be seen to be doing so? Is the sale of Pride products simply to boost profits?’

We want our people to show solidarity with their LGBTQ+ colleagues. We want them to enjoy the day – there’s nothing wrong with having a bit of fun! But there’s more to it than that…

This year, we have donated £20,000 to the homelessness charity, akt. This was set up in 1989 to support young LGBTQ+ people who face rejection and eviction from their family home because of who they are. We are also donating €1,000 to BeLonG To Youth Services for LGBTI+ young people in Ireland. These donations form part of our wider community donations, which last year exceeded £13.6m, and the charities were chosen by people in the LGBTQ+ network at M&S.

David adds: “I’m proud that a number of colleagues from our LGBTQ+ network are volunteering this summer with akt to help decorate one of their halfway houses in London. This is an important part of us helping to give back to our local communities.”

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