The elected mayor of Middlesborough has called for more events and even a nightclub for the gay community in the town.
Ray Mallon, one of the most popular mayors in the UK, has even suggested a gay quarter, and plans to speak to local authorities in other cities about their success in creating a vibrant gay scene.
Known as “Robocop” because of his zero tolerance approach to crime while a senior officer in Cleveland police, Mr Mallon told a meeting of the Middlesborough Council Executive that it is important to raise the issue.
“We have a diverse, multi-cultural community in Middlesbrough,” he said, according to the Middlesborough Evening Gazette.
“What are we going to do to cater for the gay community?”
The mayor pointed to the gay village in Manchester and that city’s Pride events as an example of what might be achieved in his town.
Middlesborough – population 135,000 – held its first gay Pride celebrations earlier this week.
Mr Mallon’s comments were welcomed by local gay activist.
Dr Martin Leyland, chairman of T-Sides Out, a support group for gay men on Teesside, told the Gazette:
“Research across the world shows that where you have a town with a strong gay community it makes for a strong community overall.
“People look at the town and think ‘if it is safe and secure for the gay community it’s going to be safe and secure for families’.
“Once families come in the investment follows.”
Dr Leyland said it might be possible to make Middlesborough the “gay centre of the north east.”