Nick Crofts, President of our National Members’ Council, was recently shortlisted in the British LGBT Awards 2017 as a Top 10 LGBT+ Inspirational Leader. The awards celebrate community activists, public figures and straight allies who work to advance the rights of LGBT communities. Alex Wainwright, a member of our Respect LGBT+ Network explains what this means to LGBT colleagues at the Co-op. 

As a bisexual person, it means a lot to see a senior person within our organisation nominated as an LGBT+ Inspirational Leader. The fact that Nick is not only comfortable and open about who he is, but is being recognised for what he does for the LGBT+ community means a lot to LGBT+ colleagues and our Respect network.

For me, Nick can help represent my views and the views of the other LGBT+ colleagues within the Co-op.

Nick has spoken publicly about how he has never felt discriminated against because of who he is, but unfortunately this isn’t the case for everyone. He believes that it’s best to be yourself always and this is something I can relate to in my LGBT+ experiences, especially while working at the Co-op.

Be yourself always

They say you either ‘come out loud’ or ‘come out quietly’. I never felt the need to publicly come out as my relationship status was my personal to me, but before joining the Co-op I  felt as though I didn’t fit in.

I joined the Co-op 11 years ago, at a time when I was just coming to terms with being bisexual. From the very start I felt welcomed. I felt as though my job at the Co-op was the first place where I was not criticised for being me and was welcomed by a family who judged me based on my graft not my sexuality.

I’m a proud and active member of Co-op’s LGBT+ network, Respect, and have enjoyed working closely with other LGBT+ colleagues across the Co-op as it’s great to know there are other people just like you that work in the same place. I recently attended my first regional meeting and have firm plans to represent the Co-op at Northern Pride this July in Newcastle.

I hope that Nick’s nomination will encourage more people to share their story and inspire others to be proud of who we are.

Alex Wainwright
Respect LGBT+ Member


Join the conversation! 7 Comments

  1. I am sadly disappointed to hear about the incidents of homophobia that have been reported by others since I made my comments – I really thought things were better than that.

    A hotter topic than I thought !

  2. Only last week I experienced homophobia via social media so until that stops, if ever, we still need to champion this # beingyourselfalways

  3. As a Gay Man, living with my long-term partner of 19yrs, it’s a comfortable to know that I’m not ever going to be penalised by my employer for “#beingyourselfalways…

  4. That’s fine and I am genuinely pleased for you but it’s not really news. This is an issue that we’ve come to terms with – it’s not a hot topic any more surely.

    Outside the pages of a right-wing tabloid surely being LGBT + isn’t an issue in a workplace like the Co-op?

    When I read the headline I thought this article was going to be something much more important like worker representation on governing boards or gender-balanced boards.

    Forward-thinking organisations are moving away from the fetishisation of “high-powered” (and so extremely high-paid) executives as the only way to run a company. As a progressive organisation let’s see the Co-op doing that.

    You’ve just got rid of a head of HR who pocketed a million-pound a year salary (and did the Co-op really get value for money on that ? ) – let’s be bold and progressive and not just replace them with someone at the same rate.

    • Hi there, we’ll continue to champion diversity amongst our colleagues until we don’t have to. We have a diverse range of colleagues who are proud to work here at The Co-op. ^Scott


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