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Manchester Pride CEO Joins Mayor's First City-Region Adviser and Panel

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham has set up a panel of experts to tackle the inequalities lesbian, gay, bi and trans people face, and ensure they feel included, valued and safe.

Mark Fletcher, chief executive for Manchester Pride, will sit on the panel which will reflect the diversity of the LGBT+ community from across Greater Manchester. It is to be headed up by Manchester Pride ambassador, former Lord Mayor of Greater Manchester and prominent LGBT+ activist, Carl Austin-Behan.

Whilst in his role of Lord Mayor Carl lead the Manchester Pride Parade as Grand Marshall in 2016 as he walked alongside his husband Simon and their two Maltipoo dogs, Scrappy and Oleg wearing custom-made pink robes.

It’s the first time something like this has been done in Greater Manchester – and thought to be the first panel of its type in the UK. They will collaborate with partner agencies, LGBT+ organisations and individuals across the city-region to deliver the Greater Manchester LGBT+ Action Plan which was launched by Andy launched last year.

Other panel members include: Colette McHugh, deputy chief executive of leading housing and social purpose organisation ForViva; Paul Martin, chief executive of LGBT+ Foundation, one of the UK’s leading LGBT+ charities; Trans civil rights campaigner Christine Burns MBE; Juergen Maier, chief executive of Siemens UK; Director of Pride Sports and Football v Homophobia Lou Englefield; Wigan and Leigh Green Party chair Will Patterson; and a range of other LGBT+ activists and figures from across Greater Manchester.

Mark Fletcher said; “I am proud to be part of such an important step in Manchester’s ongoing fight for equality for LGBT+ people. Our fabulous city has been integral to so many big steps forward for people here and across the country. In this month of Pride for the city, as we prepare for The Manchester Pride Festival, it is important that we look forward and continue to strive to create an environment that LGBT+ people can thrive in.”

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.

“There is such great work going on here already, from the numerous Pride events that take place across the Greater Manchester, to the remarkable Village Angels and Haven programme which helps ensure people have a great night out in our thriving and world-famous Gay Village.

“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.

“I look forward to working with the LGBT Adviser and Panel and fully intend to help tackle the inequalities that still exist for a significant number of Greater Manchester people.”

Carl and the panel will support the Mayor through: engaging the LGBT community in delivering the ambitions of the Greater Manchester Strategy; ensuring that the city-region has strong and diverse leadership; monitoring the sexual orientation and the trans status of service users and staff; ensuring 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 improving LGBT awareness.

In particular, this will include the commitments made by the Mayor to back the LGBT community by:

  • Supporting and attending events such as Pride and Sparkle, and encouraging Pride events in all borough and towns across Greater Manchester;
  • Working with the NHS to tackle health inequalities and improve awareness of LGBT issues;
  • Tackling domestic abuse in the LGBT community and the barriers that exist around reporting;
  • Supporting councils to create LGBT-friendly retirement homes and combat loneliness;
  • Committing to continuing funding for Village Angels - a project helping to keep people safe in the Village.
The panel members are:

Mark Fletcher - Chief Executive for Manchester Pride
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

Manchester Pride campaigns for the advancement of LGBT+ equality; celebrates LGBT+ life and creates opportunities that engage LGBT+ people so that they can thrive.

As one of the leading LGBT+ charities in the UK, its work aims to challenge discrimination in relation to homophobia, biphobia and transphobia and through our grant-giving, it supports, enrich and empowers LGBT+ community groups, events and causes in Greater Manchester.

The organisation fundraises by staging a number of events throughout the year, including the award-winning Manchester Pride Festival, The Manchester Pride Spring Benefit, events recognising International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) and the year-round programme of culture, Superbia.

Since 2003, Manchester Pride has raised and distributed over £1.5million.

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