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My dead gay brother helped win me the right to marry

Homeless gay teen Albert Kennedy died after being chased by a homophobic gang 25 years ago but his death has helped change the UK
Albert Kennedy (1973-1989): Fell to his death being chased by an anti-gay gang but inspired a LGBTI youth homeless charity.

Gay 16-year-old Albert Kennedy’s life ended in tragedy – falling to his death from a multi-story car park.

But exactly 25 years on today (30 April), his gay brother Billy has paid a moving tribute to the changes inspired by Albert’s life and death – including his right to marry his same-sex partner.

Albert Kennedy was much loved by his family but was put into a children’s home in Salford, north west England. Homophobic kids there rejected him.

He ran away, seeking solace in the nearby Manchester Gay Village.

But on 30 April 1989 several attackers chased him in a car, in what was believed to be a homophobic attack. He fell to his death from a car park in central Manchester.

Cath Hall, a straight foster carer in Manchester was moved by his death and acted, becoming the founding patron of Albert Kennedy Trust (AKT).

Since then AKT has supported lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender young people aged under 25 who are homeless or living in a hostile environment.

Albert’s brother, Billy, who is also gay, said today: ‘25 years ago we lost a son and a brother to a senseless act.

‘Albert never got to share with us those priceless moments that we all take for granted. Whilst time can help us understand, it cannot erase the memories of the sadness and isolation Albert felt during his short life.

‘Thanks to the great work of the AKT, those questions we once had of why, how and when have been replaced with a sense of a life purpose. Through the AKT, Albert’s short life has had more of an impact on this earth than any of us could wish for in our lifetime.

‘In 1989 Manchester (and the world) was a very different place; less open, less diverse and far less accepting. Thanks to the hard work of some dedicated people, the GLBT community is in a very different place.

‘As a family, we could not be more thankful to the AKT for ensuring young people in the UK do not suffer the way that Albert did. And especially for helping us, Albert’s family, make sense of why he was taken from us too soon.

‘Thanks to people like Albert changing the world, I was able to marry my partner three years ago, and for that I will be eternally grateful.’

Albert’s mum, Mary, is also a proud supporter of AKT.

The charity will celebrate its 25th anniversary on 7 July this year. It provides safe homes and carers for LGBTI kids in London, Manchester and Newcastle.

It unveiled its 25th anniversary logo today and is planning a summer of fundraisers and events.

These include a reception by the Lord Mayor of Manchester and a question time for young people and top politicians in July and a series of summer parties in September.

Meanwhile they are asking social media users to use the hash tag #rememberingalbert to remember Albert’s death today.

Supporters in the UK can text ‘ALBT25 £10’ to 70070 to give AKT £10.

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