It’s with great pleasure that we are delighted to announce that The Health Equality and Rights Organisation t/a GMFA has confirmed Ian Howley as permanent Chief Executive Officer. Ian has been with GMFA/HERO since 2010 and took over as Interim Chief Executive in August 2016. 

Alan Palmer, Chair of HERO said: "I'm delighted that the Board has confirmed Ian Howley as Chief Executive. Since being appointed as Interim Chief Executive, Ian has demonstrated the values, knowledge and commitment needed to lead this organisation. He has managed a hugely successful relaunch of FS as The Fact Site, enabling HERO to build on our achievements in providing accurate information to gay and bisexual men to ensure that we can do the same for the wider LGBT communities. Under Ian's leadership, HERO has had its best ever World AIDS Day campaign, raising vital funds to help us continue our work into and beyond our 25th year." 

Ian commenting on his appointment said: “I am delighted to have been confirmed as Chief Executive of GMFA/HERO after a successful interim period. When I first joined GMFA in 2010 I knew I was part of something special and have given my all to make sure that GMFA and HERO makes a difference to LGBT people. In the last seven years, we have worked hard to help GMFA make a difference in the community. While we are still in uncertain times, and there will be challenges ahead, I promise that GMFA and HERO will fight to help and support LGBT people to create personal and social change in their own lives and community. As GMFA enters its 25th year of existence, we need a focused and united approach to LGBT health inequalities such as the high rate of suicide in gay and bisexual men, mental health support, HIV prevention and sex and relationship education – all of which are important issues in the LGBT community. I’m proud to lead a team that’s dedicated in achieving this.

"I want to assure all volunteers that we will work hard to maintain the high standard of work that you have come to love and expect. There is more to HIV prevention than just telling gay and bisexual men to wear a condom or just take PrEP. How we view ourselves, our self-esteem and self-worth all plays a part. We are also entering a mental health time bomb. Suicide is at its highest it’s ever been for gay men. Chemsex and the affect it has on gay men’s mental health is also becoming an issue. The battle for health equality is still ongoing and we here at GMFA and HERO promise to try our best to create personal and social change for gay and bisexual men and in the wider LGBT community. 

“GMFA is also proud to have lead the way in tackling HIV stigma in a productive way. Our approach has always been to show real people, real issues and educate people in a way that helps them understand what impact HIV stigma has on our community. HIV stigma affects us all and we all need to work to stop HIV stigma. We promise to continue this important work.

 “Lastly, I want to thank you, our volunteers for your continued support. Without you we couldn’t do what we do. You are what makes GMFA and HERO so special and I look forward to working with you all. Please don’t ever hesitate to get in contact with me. My inbox is always open."

Ian can be reached at [email protected]. You can also follow Ian on Twitter, @ianhowley. If you would like to get involved more with GMFA and HERO contact [email protected] for more information.