The New York Police Department is attempting to set a higher standard when it comes to acceptance and appreciation for their LGBTQ community. According to a recent report, the department currently employs hundreds of gay officers and has taken proactive steps to ensure that their rights are respected, both inside the police station and when they are out in the field. For officer Aiden Budd, a transgender male, his lifelong dream of becoming a police officer was accompanied by a legitimate fear that his identity would separate him from the fraternity of the New York Police Department.
“I didn’t want to be judged before they got to know me,” Budd told the New York Times.
Despite his legitimate fears, the police department is making huge strides to ensure that officers feel comfortable enough to live their true identities. Budd’s ascension into the department comes at a time when large government agencies are grappling with decisions about LGBTQ rights. It wasn’t until June of this year that transgender citizens were given the chance to serve openly in the military.
TCOPS, the Trangender Community of Police and Sherifs is a peer support network for transgender law enforcement and support that was founded in the late 1990s in hopes of giving these valuable officers a chance to find an understanding support system. In the support group, officers depict their varied experiences with homophobia, hostility, and even violence while serving on the force. Despite some horrific tales, most officers express a sense of optimism as gender identity discussions become more mainstream and police departments take time to prepare for a diverse range of officers.