Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has today unveiled a panel of experts to tackle the inequalities lesbian, gay, bi and trans people face, and ensure they feel included, valued and safe within the city.
At a press event, former Lord Mayor of Manchester and LGBT activist Carl Austin-Behan was announced as the new LGBT Adviser.
Thought to be the first of its kind in the UK, the LGBT Adviser and panel will collaborate with partner agencies and LGBT organisations to deliver the Greater Manchester LGBT Action Plan, developed by LGBT Foundation and launched last year.
The panel will work together with the Mayor of Greater Manchester to ensure the area has strong and diverse leadership; monitor the sexual orientation and the trans status of service users and staff; ensure all providers of public services commit to using evidence into the needs and experiences of all LGBT people when designing, commissioning and reviewing services; and helping improve LGBT awareness.
Andy Burnham said: “Greater Manchester is known throughout the UK and around the world as a beacon for LGBT people. Let’s not forget that the UK’s LGBT rights movement began in Manchester, and LGBT people make a huge contribution to the success of our city-region.
This is something we should celebrate and cherish, which is why having a new LGBT Adviser and panel is so important. LGBT rights were hard-fought and won, but it is still the case that LGBT people face inequality. We must continue to break down those barriers and build a Greater Manchester that is for all.
“Last year I signed up to the LGBT Action Plan for Greater Manchester, which commits public bodies, private organisations, voluntary groups and LGBT citizens to work together to improve LGBT lives and this demonstrates my commitment to this shared goal.”
Carl Austin-Behan added: “There are at least 215,000 lesbian, gay, bi and trans people in Greater Manchester – that’s bigger than the population of Rochdale so it is important that they are represented and their voices are heard.
By setting up this panel, the Mayor is demonstrating a clear and unambiguous commitment to improving the lives of LGBT people and reducing inequality across the city-region. The panel and I are looking forward to getting to work.
Greater Manchester Equalities Lead, and Tameside Council Leader Councillor Brenda Warrington said: “Working with the LGBT community in Greater Manchester is an integral part of the equalities portfolio that Mayor Andy Burnham has asked me to undertake.
“There is a tremendous energy and pride within the LGBT community across the whole of Greater Manchester which the current season of Pride events demonstrates brilliantly.”
The full panel members are:
Paul Martin OBE – CEO, LGBT Foundation
Christine Burns MBE – Trans Civil Rights Campaigner
Juergen Maier – CEO, Siemens UK
Colette McKune MBE – Deputy Group Chief Executive ForViva
Helen Darby – Research Impact and Public Engagement Manager, MMU
Will Patterson – Chair of Wigan & Leigh Green Party and Green Party Mayoral Candidate
Chloe Cousins – Youth Engagement Officer, Proud Trust
Jane Owen MBE – Former trustee of Sparkle, works for Network Rail
Raf Young – Queer Disabled Activist
Pierrette Squires – Chair Bolton LGBT Partnership
Lou Englefield – Director of Pride Sports and Football v Homophobia
Jax Effiong – GMFRS Community Safety Manager and LGBT role model
Tara Kelly – Former Chair of HouseProud NW, works for Equity Housing
Mark Fletcher – Chief Executive, Manchester Pride