Councillor Carl Austin-Behan, a former Mr. Gay UK, was sworn in today as Lord Mayor of Manchester, making him the first openly gay person to be appointed to that office.
In 1997, Austin-Behan was dismissed from the Royal Air Force on account of his sexual orientation. The Manchester Evening News writes that the 44-year-old “felt it was time for someone who represents Manchester’s celebrated lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to finally don the ceremonial robes.”
And it is all the more meaningful after a long battle to stop his sexuality blocking his ambitions.
Just over 20 years ago he was kicked out of the Royal Air Force for being gay at a time when it was still illegal.
But now – a few months after getting married, and starting the adoption process with his husband, Simon, – he is taking the highest ceremonial office in the city.
Watch a profile from That’s Manchester on Austin-Behan: