One of Britain’s first out gay police officers has just died
One of the first women in the police to come out as gay has passed away.
Julie Frank was an officer with Greater Manchester police for over 30 years.
The LGBT Foundation broke the news, saying the long-standing officer “was an inspiration to many of us”.
It’s believed she died of cancer.
The officer, who retired from the police eight years ago, helped set up the force’s Lesbian and Gay Staff Association and was one of the first ever officers to take part in an LGBT pride parade.
In 2012 she was awarded the Alan Turing Memorial Award for her lifetime’s work, having been instrumental in tackling prejudice within the police force.
Smyth Harper, LGBT Foundation chair, said: “Over the course of her career, Julie was an instrument for change in GMP.
“GMP was transformed from being a service notorious for its prejudice against LGBT to one that is now perhaps one of the most open and accepting police services in world.
“It was a source of quiet pride for Julie that each year, men and women from GMP and from police services across Britain would participate in the Manchester Pride parade.
“That’s just a small illustration of the change that Julie didn’t just witness, but was instrumental in bringing about.
“Our community has lost one of our most important activists, although she would have been mortified to be described as such.
“But as we mourn, we can also celebrate because Julie left a legacy. Julie made a difference.”
Carl Austin-Behan, the Lord Mayor of Manchester, told the M.E.N.: “She was someone who always got involved.
“She set the foundations for GMP’s approach. She worked as hard as she possibly could to get LGBT recognition in the workplace.
“Even after she retired from the force, I know she was very active and continued to volunteer with the LGBT staff association.
“She was one of the first officers to actually appear in the Pride Parade and that was a big thing. She was an amazing person.”
Well wishers paid tribute online.
Manchester councillor Kevin Peel wrote that “she was a trailblazer for LGBT equality in the police force”.
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What a Legend, Farewell to our inspiration ? pic.twitter.com/uhxItPavKy
— Pride Network (@GMPPrideNetwork) January 3, 2017
Somewhere thousands of police officers will cry for the loss of one inspirational lady who carved the way not just led it. She gets my medal
— Ginger Harps (@AndreaCQ14) January 3, 2017