BY Advocate Contributors

March 09 2010 9:00 AM ET

MICHAEL VERDUGO X390 (COURTESY) | ADVOCATE.COM

What is it like to be an openly gay cop in South Florida?
I have great friends there still, but I think its rougher in the department than on the street. I never had problems on the street. I’m not the [gay] stereotype. I guess when my coworkers found out about me [being gay] they were shocked, but I’ve never been in the closet — I’ve always been out. I just don’t walk around with a flag. I have a lot of friends there and have a lot of support there, and I don’t expect everyone to accept it, being 2010. But discrimination is so severe in the HPD toward gender, race, and ethnicity [too].

Is it true you were disinvited to the Design Star reunion?
That’s correct. I was invited back [initially], and the video came out and I was still invited back. The reunion is all pretaped and then it’s a live show at the end — it’s not really live, but it’s supposed to look live. So the video came out; HGTV public relations called me and said we still want you back on the reunion show, we’ll still give you support. Then the day of the show they called me and said you’re not invited. Mind you, I bought five tickets for people to go because we were allowed five tickets for friends and family to go to Tennessee [where the show was filmed].

Was there an explanation?
None at all.








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