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Manchester’s first ever openly gay Lord Mayor sworn in – with an Abba quote

Joe Williams May 19, 2016

The former Mr Gay UK was sworn into the historic role, with a quote from camp disco legends Abba.

Councillor Carl Austin-Behan said he was embarking on a “proud road” as he became Lord Mayor of the city of Manchester today.

Using the words of Abba he promised councillors: “I’m going to do my very best and it ain’t no lie.

“You’re going to take me to the test and you’ll let me try. Take a chance on me.”

He later added that he and his husband Simon – who he married last year after 12 years together – were overjoyed to become the first same-sex married couple to be Manchester’s first citizens.

“It would be easy for me to be daunted by such a massive responsibility but I can honestly stand here today and say I’m an extremely proud Mancunian and I will put my energy, my enthusiasm, my charm and commitment in 100%.”

Mr Austin-Behan took the coveted Mr Gay UK crown back in 2001 while working as an events manager, well before deciding to enter politics.

The former pageant winner later built a career as a Labour councillor on Manchester City Council, and was named earlier this year as the Labour group’s choice to be the city’s new ceremonial Lord Mayor.

Mr Austin-Behan was forced out of the RAF in the 1990s because he is openly gay just years before the military ban was lifted.

He told the Manchester Evening News: “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.

“It’s not a case of saying everyone needs to be like me, but as part of the diversity of Manchester it should be embraced.”

“I see this as an opportunity to put it out there that we are all as normal as each other.”

More: Gay, Labour, LGBT, Manchester, mayor

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