WI Magazine Features Same Sex Couple For The First Time
By Sofy Robertson
Photos by Karen Fuller, provided by the WI
The Women’s Institute has demonstrated its power as a progressive and inclusive organisation as this month’s WI magazine features a lesbian couple.
The March edition of WI Life, the official WI magazine made especially for members, features a same-sex couple as its cover stars for the first time in the magazine’s history.
The chosen cover story describes “what happened when the WI played cupid to five couples”. In a progressive move that demonstrates support for the nation’s LGBTQ community, the WI chose a lesbian couple, from the five couples featured, to appear on the cover.
Becky and Cathy Townsend joined the Aylsham branch of the WI four years ago after watching a play about the WI centenary. That same weekend, they had announced their decision to get married after a six-month romance that began in a women’s dance class.
Becky took on the role of hosting a craft group at the Aylsham WI in Norfolk and, after telling her fellow WI members about their dream of a hand-crafted wedding, they were eager to pitch in. Becky explained:
“It became a project for the craft group I hosted every month and, in the end, we had 600 bunting flags – crocheted, knitted and sewn by our family and our friends in the WI.
“I love that we made everything for the wedding day ourselves; it was all done the way the WI would do it.”
Melissa Green, NFWI General Secretary, commented on the WI magazine’s decision to feature Becky and Cathy’s story and how this resulted in them becoming the magazine’s first ever same-sex cover stars:
“We are delighted with this feature in WI Life, which showcases how the WI played a part in five love stories, including our cover stars Becky and Cathy who enlisted the help of their fellow WI members to handcraft their wedding decorations! This is the first time that WI Life has featured a same-sex couple on the front cover, and we are incredibly proud of what it represents and how positive the feedback has been from WI members.
“The WI is an inclusive, supportive and progressive organisation for all women, and anyone living their life as a woman, with a diverse and incredible membership of approximately 215,000 members in 6,300 WIs.
“The WI welcomes and celebrates all women, as well as offering a space where they can be themselves surrounded by other supportive women. The WI today truly represents a cross section of women in society, and one of the aspects that WI members cherish is the opportunity to meet a diverse range of women. The WI was founded on democratic ideals over 100 years ago, and this commitment to equality is still central to our ethos today. We are committed to ensuring that every person who comes to the WI feels a part of it and a sense of belonging, with equal access to all opportunities on a local and national level.”
The full story of Becky and Cathy’s WI romance can be found in the March edition of the WI magazine, WI Life.