On episode 44 of the Public Sector Executive Podcast, host Dan Benn was joined by former Lord Mayor of Manchester, Carl Austin-Behan OBE. Carl spoke about everything ranging from his time in the RAF, being Manchester’s first openly gay Lord Mayor, and the important work he does now, with the LGBT Foundation.
Speaking on his time in the Royal Air Force, Carl said “they just sat me down and said ‘ do you have homosexual tendencies?’ In that split second I had to make my decision, whether I was going to be true to myself and this was the moment where I could be, or I could lie.
“I think If I’d said no, the Air Force would have been like ‘thank you very much, we just had to ask’ but they asked again, and I burst into tears.”
Carl also touched on the improvements that have been made in workplaces, since that time, saying that “Because of the way that a lot of organisations have moved on, I think they also realise that they’ve got to treat the LGBTQ community in their workforce, with respect. Also, we’ve now got things like LGBT History Month, which we never used to have, and everyone knows about.
“It does frustrate me sometimes because, if you’re a business or organisation that is bringing people in to do a talk – which is great, but it doesn’t have to just be during LGBT History Month or Pride Month. For me, permanent visibility is permanent acceptance.”
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