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Former Mr Gay UK becomes Manchester’s first openly gay Lord Mayor

By Rhys Matthews

Manchester councillor Carl Austin-Behan will become the city’s first ever openly gay Lord Mayor when he’s sworn into office tomorrow (May 18).

The 44-year-old, who was kicked out of the RAF in 1997 for being gay before going on to win the title of Mr Gay UK, continues to forge the way for LGBT people with the high-profile new post.

According to Manchester Evening News, the councillor felt it was “time for someone who represents Manchester’s celebrated lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to finally don the ceremonial robes.”

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Mr Austin-Behan will be sworn in on Wednesday, just over 20 years after he was kicked out the Royal Air Force at a time when being gay in the British military was still illegal.

“I was kicked out of the air force for being gay in 1997. We have come such a long way but there’s still barriers there,” he said

“I thought it was time we had an openly gay lord mayor. We have had different races and cultures doing it – so this is a recognition of the LGBT community.”

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It all comes at a busy time for Carl: he got married a just few months ago and has recently started the adoption process with his new husband Simon.

He says his main aim was is for people to feel represented in all walks of life. “I want people to feel like they can relate to the Lord Mayor,” he says.

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