Last week, Philip Normal was officially appointed as mayor of Lambeth where he has lived and worked for the past eight years.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, Normal was given the position through a video conference, however, social distancing could not take away from the importance of the momentous occasion. This is because the local businessman is not only part of the LGBT+ community, but it is reported that he is the first-eve mayor anywhere in the UK who is openly living with HIV.
In his acceptance speech, Normal mentioned that it was brought to his attention that it appears that he will be the first mayor who is openly living with HIV in the UK, saying that although he is not sure if this is true or not, if it is, in fact, true it is not something to feel proud of.
Saying that this revelation “highlights the shame and stigma that has been associated with HIV for far too long.”
Normal praised the community of Lambeth in his speech, saying how it is “one of the best places in London to live, work, and visit, with diverse and resilient communities, with each of [the] town centres having its unique character and history.”
Normal also mentioned the fact that Lambeth has the highest percentage of LGBT+ residents than any other borough in England. All factors which influenced Normal to move to the town eight years ago have now pushed him to become mayor of the community he admires so much.
Due to social distancing restrictions, Normal was unable to receive and wear the official mayoral chains which are traditionally fitted to the new mayor once they are appointed.
However, the new Mayor created his own necklace for the special occasion, which he plans to auction off to raise funds for the Albert Kennedy Trust, a cause dear to his heart. Mayor Normal dedicated his acceptance speech to the charity that supports homeless and at-risk LGBT+ teens.
Despite it not being the typical appointment ceremony, Mayor Normal thanked all of those that made the ceremony possible regardless of the COVID-19 restrictions.
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