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Julie Barnes-Frank, who died on Monday, was one of the first uniformed police officers to march at Pride.

Tributes are still pouring in for a trailblazing police officer who passed away on Monday 2 January. She had cancer.

Julie Barnes-Frank served with Greater Manchester Police for 30 years and was one of the first uniformed officers to march at Pride. She later helped to set up GMP’s LGBT network, was awarded a Homo Hero award by the LGBT Foundation, and was the first recipient of the Alan Turing Memorial Award in 2012.

Lord Mayor of Manchester, Carl Austin-Behan, led the tributes, describing Julie as “an amazing person”.

“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,” he said. “Even after she retired from the force, I know she was very active and continued to volunteer with the LGBT staff association.”

He added: “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.”

LGBT Foundation’s chief executive also commented on the death of an “inspiration”. Paul Martin OBE said: “Julie was an inspiration to many of us and her passing so early is very sad. At a time when LGBT equality was just a dream, Julie was out on the frontline, quietly and oh-so-politely ensuring that LGBT police officers and staff were treated fairly, and with dignity and respect.

“Julie was always a charming yet determined LGBT activist and everyone from Chief Constables to officers on the beat were persuaded to be kinder and more generous to their LGBT colleagues, all because Julie was able to humanise LGBT equality in a way that few could emulate.

“She was someone who many of us admired and she has played an important part in our community’s history. Her legacy is a GMP that is more inclusive and equitable of LGBT people. On behalf of the LGBT communities of Greater Manchester, everyone at LGBT Foundation would like to say thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

Smyth Harper, LGBT Foundation chair, added: “Julie was a quiet whirlwind. She was passionate about policing, and passionate about equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans people. She took that passion and energised it, blazing a trail which brought about real, meaningful and lasting change in policing, not just in Greater Manchester, but across the land.

“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. It was, and is, the biggest police contingent in any Pride parade, not just in the UK, but across the world. That’s just a small illustration of the change that Julie didn’t just witness, but was instrumental in bringing about.

“The world is a little darker today. 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.”

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First published on our sister site DIVA.

(Photo: MEN Shift)

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Carrie Lyell

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