Happy Pride Month from everyone at Radley London. If you visit us in-store during June you’ll notice our colleagues will be wearing their Radley Rainbow Dog pin badges.

After what has been a tough year of staying apart, we’re extremely happy to mark an occasion that’s all about standing together with our LGBTQ+ community. (Even though the physical standing together will happen a little bit later in the year due to the pandemic.)

Making really beautiful handbags is what we do best. So we decided to make one that would benefit a charity close to our hearts.

Introducing Beach Close Pride. Our reversible fits-everything-but-the-kitchen-sink canvas tote. With a rainbow-print to one side and a colourful logo to the other. We’re pleased to say that 20% of the sale price paid will be donated to Stonewall.* You can bag yourself the perfect tote to wear all summer, as well as support this incredibly important charity.

Founded in London in 1989, Stonewall now works in each nation of the UK and has established partnerships across the globe. Over the last 30 years, they have created transformative change in the lives of LGBTQ+ people in the UK, helping win equal rights around marriage, having children and inclusive education.

Stonewall’s campaigns drive positive change for our communities, and their sustained change and empowerment programmes ensure that LGBTQ+ people can thrive throughout their lives. They make sure that the world hears and learns from LGBTQ+ communities, and their work is grounded in evidence and expertise.

Stonewall’s work continues until the world they imagine is the world we live in.

The Radley London team couldn’t be happier to support Stonewall and our shared values of diversity, inclusion, and ensuring a safe environment for all.

Richard, our Head of People here at Radley London, spoke to us about these values. That’s him on the left in the picture above, having fun at London Pride.

Covid-19 has greatly restricted Stonewall’s fundraising efforts. If you would like to support Stonewall, there are many different ways to do it.

We were lucky enough to speak to one of Stonewall’s Sport Champions – racing driver Charlie Martin – about what the charity means to her as a trans woman breaking boundaries in sport and in our society.

“For one it’s important to have people fighting for LGBTQ+ rights in terms of government legislation. Things that determine people’s rights to legally live as the gender they identify as and have the same rights as anyone else in the UK. That’s something you can’t overlook when you’ve always taken these things for granted, as perhaps heterosexual cis gendered people. You don’t realise the implications of living in a society where you can be the victim of discrimination. So having a large organisation like Stonewall who is there at the forefront, fighting for progress and representing the community. That’s an amazing thing.”

In Charlie’s world of endurance racing, she notes that there’s still a way to go for the LGBTQ+ community but progress is being made. And she is taking an active role in it.

“I think it’s fair to say that most sport has some catching up to do in terms of its approach to inclusion and diversity. Up until very recently it’s not something that’s been addressed by governing bodies. In the last 12 months we’ve seen things like Motorsport UK setting up an Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Committee which is a really positive step forward. I’m proud to be working on one of the subcommittees on the LGBTQ+ side of that.

“Change is happening. It’s the beginning and there is a lot of work to be done. It’s about creating a space where everyone feels included, whether they’re a fan, a driver, an engineer, whatever. But because historically there’s not been any LGBTQ+ visibility, it’s that age-old mantra of ‘if you can’t see it then you can’t be it’ and I think that’s something that I found.”

Charlie is helping to give young people the experience she didn’t have. As part of Stonewall’s work, they aim to give young people role models with different jobs and life experiences, who visit schools to tell their story about growing up as an LGBT person.

“It’s a great feeling going into schools. I can’t explain how much it would have meant to me age 10 to have someone talk to me who was a racing driver or fighter pilot or whatever else, who also happens to be transgender. Who told me an inspiring story of their life and how they managed to get to where they are within the context of being transgender as well.

“Now public speaking is a massive part of my working life. I regularly speak for large organisations. Helping companies with their own commitment to trans awareness and acceptance.”

Visibility is so important, and it’s why charities like Stonewall and also events like Pride are important to the LGBTQ+ community. We spoke about Pride with Charlie, and what it means to her.

“Number one is it’s a big celebration. We get to celebrate who we are as a community and look to the future and what we still need to achieve.

“And two it’s about recognising that there’s still a lot of progress to be made. In a lot of countries and other places too. Hopefully one day we will reach a place in society where everyone feels they are free to be their true authentic self. It’s about being seen, it’s about being proud of who we are. And not forgetting Pride started as a response to oppression. It’s acknowledging those two elements. Coming together and celebrating with the community and with allies. It’s something for everybody to stand together and be united in their support of the community.”

A huge thank you to the incredible Charlie Martin for sharing her time and experiences with us. Best of luck in your next race, Charlie. Team Radley London is cheering for you.

Make sure you’re following us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for more Pride content. And don’t forget to check out our Beach Close Pride tote. We’re pleased to say that 20% of the sale price paid will be donated to Stonewall.*

Get inspired by our blog post with Lady Phyll, co-founder of UK Black Pride and our June Woman of Spirit.

*Find full terms and conditions here. 20% of the sale price paid (including VAT) for each Beach Close Pride Large Open Top Tote (product code: H4319287) will be donated to Stonewall Equality Limited (registered charity number 1101255).