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Gay cops rally
against discrimination

Gay cops rally
against discrimination

Police officers pledge "to serve and protect" not just the community but their coworkers as well. Yet LGBT officers have found that not everyone adheres to this oath, reports The Providence [R.I.] Journal.

Problems include fellow officers who would ignore gay officers' calls for backup, who refused to ride with them in the same cruiser, who slandered them at headquarters, and who neglected to consider them for promotion.

"Everyone here has a story," said Det. Michael Carney to an audience of over 150 gay police officers from around the country, the Journal reported. Carney, who won a 1993 discrimination suit against his department in Springfield, Mass., helped found the New England chapter of the Gay Officers Action League. The organization is completing a five-day conference in Providence to discuss issues affecting LGBT officers.

Conference workshops cover such topics as coping with gender identity and sexual orientation, educating straight peers, lobbying for domestic-partner benefits, and coming out on the job.

Carney told the Journal, "We're trying to reach out to the mainstream to make them understand the importance of community policing today and that every department should be molded to their communities--and that includes the gay and lesbian community."

Sgt. Preston P. Horton, a conference participant and officer of the MBTA Transit Police in Boston, explained to the Journal that the goal is not to create special advantages for LGBT officers.

"Gay and lesbian police officers and gay and lesbian people are just looking to be equal," Horton told the paper. "We're not looking for anything special. I just want to come to work, do my job, raise a family with my significant other, and not worry about if we go somewhere I need to bring along a civil union sheet to visit him in a hospital bed. These are just simple, simple issues. It's the pursuit of happiness and being free." (The Advocate)

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