History made in Tameside with first LGBT Mayor

Wednesday, May 22nd, 2019 4:00pm

By Charlotte Green (Local Democracy Reporter)

Councillors have made history in Tameside electing their youngest and first openly gay Civic Mayor.

Coun Leigh Drennan was handed the chains of office at a ceremonial meeting of the full council in Dukinfield on Tuesday night.

At just 27, the Ashton Hurst ward representative is the youngest person ever to perform the civic role.

And his partner Cory James will also set a precedent by serving as his consort, making them the first LGBT Mayoral couple.

His deputy will be Denton South Coun Claire Reid, who was nominated by Denton colleagues in the chamber, George Newton and Allison Gwynne.

In his first speech after taking over from outgoing Mayor Denise Ward, Mayor Drennan vowed to show there is ‘no place for hate’ in the borough.

He added that his election showed that a 27-year-old ‘has just as much to give to our borough as someone at 67’.

“I also feel the responsibility of setting a good example for our borough, not only as the youngest Civic Mayor but also as the first openly gay Mayor who will be the representative of everyone in the borough,” Coun Drennan said.

Dukinfield Town Hall, cropped

“Most people in this borough wouldn’t bat an eyelid when told that I and my partner are LGBT, and that is something that we should be proud of because we’ve come a long way and jumped many hurdles to be where we are today.

“Only two weeks ago I had to go to the police to report harassment and a hate crime against my partner.

“And this is a shocking reminder that there are still narrow people out there who see you as a label, rather than a person.

“We still have so much further to go and I hope that Cory and I through our year will help in our own small way in tackling stereotypes around the LGBT community, promoting inclusion for everyone, ensuring there is no place for hate in our borough.”

Coun Drennan was first elected to the council in 2012, aged just 20, making him the youngest ever councillor in the borough.

Ashton Waterloo Coun Vimal Choksi, who nominated Coun Drennan told members he was a ‘true champion of social diversity’ and will be ‘truly representing the many, not the few’.

He added that with his partner Cory by his side they will make a ‘fantastic mayoral couple’.

The Mayor’s charities this year will be Tameside 4 Good, Believe and Achieve Trust, the LGBT Foundation, Millstream Animal Shelter and Tameside, Oldham and Glossop Mind.


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