PC Ian Ashton represents Lancashire Constabulary at New York City Pride 2019

PC Ian Ashton at NYC Pride 2019
PC Ian Ashton at NYC Pride 2019
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Lancashire Constabulary were represented at New York City Pride 2019 by PC Ian Ashton.


Ian had already booked his holiday when the idea occurred to him.

Ian made sure to visit the Stonewall Bar - 50 years after the riots that made it famous.

Ian made sure to visit the Stonewall Bar - 50 years after the riots that made it famous.

"Me and my partner were celebrating 10 years together," he says, "and it was for his 40th birthday as well."

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"I've been a police officer for over 20 years now, and I came out 11 years ago," he explains.

"Back then I only knew of one other openly gay officer in the whole of Lancashire Constabulary.

Ian marched in uniform alongside his colleagues in the NYPD.

Ian marched in uniform alongside his colleagues in the NYPD.

"I thought 'That can't be right, we need to change that'.

Now there are over 100 officers who identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

"We are Stonewall workplace champions, and we are in the top 100 Stonewall employers.

"So for me it was about going out there and showing how far we've some since Stonewall," he says, "and showing that we recognise what happened".

Once he had been given permission by the leadership of Lancashire Constabulary, Ian made the trip to New York City to represent the force.

"We toured the whole city," he says, "and visited Ground Zero".

During the parade, Ian marched alongside his NYPD counterparts, and with members of the Gay Action Officers League (GOAL).

"When we passed the Stonewall Inn on the march, all the officers stopped outside and saluted the building.

"It was a really emotional atmosphere".

After the celebration, Ian left a parting gift for his hosts.

"I presented their Chief with a Lancashire Constabulary police helmet".

Ian is really proud that he was able to make the trip to New York.

"It's about showing that police are embracing the LGBT community," he says.

"I work in the Blackpool area a lot of the time, and we have one of the largest LGBT communities outside of London and Brighton.

"And we do get some stick from some people about our Pride cars for example

"But they are active response cars, not just out one day a year for the parade

"I think our visible support is still really important because the community is still being targeted.

"It's really important that we continue to support them."