It sounds strange but for somewhere where the Lord Mayor is usually someone who is 65-70 plus, in a traditional black and grey trousers with a black jacket, white shirt, white tie, to have the youngest Lord Mayor who’s openly gay and is quite happy to talk openly and mix with all communities does make a difference.
Going into your tenure, how is being open about your sexuality going to inform your role?
I was 24, just getting promoted to corporal and about to get posted near Belgium.
Was there any negativity surrounding your sexuality before you came into the position?
If it had been a case of ‘Manchester’s new Lord Mayor Councillor Carl Austin-Behan is appointed’ and that was it, and we hadn’t mentioned the fact that of me being gay, I think that could have been a situation that could have ended up being blown up in a negative way via certain parts of the media.
’ I needed to live my life and not be living what society says is right.
At the time it was still illegal to be in the air force as gay and that was one of the reasons why I was living a life that was a lie. Then when we were having the AIDS epidemic at the end of the '80s, early '90s and we thought all gay people were going to die, I was petrified.
When they asked me I just broke down crying and said, ‘Yes it’s true’.