Pride Toronto Excludes Police

Today we learned that Pride Toronto, the organization behind Toronto’s annual pride celebration, voted to exclude participation from law enforcement in the parade and pride celebrations.  They actually took conscious action to exclude law enforcement including officers who happen to be members of the LGBT community.

When Toronto hosted the World Pride celebration in 2014, I traveled to Toronto and was hosted by the police department as part of an international LGBT law enforcement conference they produced in conjunction with the pride celebration.  The Chief of Police hosted an event for LGBT community leaders in the police department in support of the pride celebration and the community (something he has done for years).  I found the police department’s engagement to be remarkable and an excellent example of what should be in every city.  The police department had a float in the parade and participated fully in a wide range of pride events, all the while providing protection for everyone who attended that weekend.  It was community policing at its finest.

When organizations like Pride Toronto take actions like they did today, they compromise what I believe citizens are craving – a trusting relationship with police.  I suspect those who voted today would be the first to criticize police for not being involved or connected enough to the community, yet they took action to exclude the same officers who are working hard to be engaged.

Last year a similar action was taken by the LGBT community center in San Diego on the Transgender Day of Remembrance.  They told a transgender officer from the San Diego Police Department that she couldn’t participate in uniform.  I say, you can’t have it both ways.   You can’t complain about a lack of engagement and trust and then do what Pride Toronto just did.

Let’s remember how pride celebrations we plan and enjoy today came about.  They started in New York with a riot between police and LGBT people.  The relationship with police couldn’t have been worse and more violent.  But over the years, law enforcement and members of the LGBT community worked hard to build relationships, to create trust, and foster inclusion.  Police department leaders, LGBT members, and straight allies have been marching in pride parades for many years now.  We’ve come too far to allow this kind of action by an organizing board to be tolerated.

I ask that you join me in calling upon Pride Toronto to reconsider the error of their ways and to welcome law enforcement back to the celebration.  I was considering visiting Toronto this summer for pride, but you can count me out until things change.

Click Here To Join The Petition For Change

Posted in Commentary Tagged with: , ,

Planning A Conference This Year And Looking For Something New?

If you are planning a conference or training this year, we offer a variety of programs designed to provide a greater understanding of the LGBTQ+ community for law enforcement.  Now more than ever, law enforcement officers need a working understanding of sexual orientation and gender identity differences.   Whether it’s gaining a better understanding of co-workers or knowing how to better serve members of the community, we can provide the training you need.  Here are descriptions of some of the programs we offer.

LGBT Awareness For Law Enforcement

Homophobia is fueled largely by fear and a general lack of knowledge about sexual orientation and gender identity.  Non-heterosexuality can pose challenges for conservative belief systems and result in hostile work environments, civil litigation, and less than satisfactory service to the community. Two studies published 2013 and 2015 by UCLA’s Williams Institute showed that homophobia is pervasive throughout law enforcement in the United States.  These studies looked at internal and external events with law enforcement and LGBT people.

LGBT AwarenessThis program includes an interactive discussion of stereotypes and an explanation of the sexual orientation and gender identity spectrum.  It can also include strategies for handling LGBT related domestic violence calls for service and hate crimes investigations involving LGBT victims.

We begin this program with a strong statement of intent:  “We are not here to tell you that your religious beliefs, personal values systems or morals are wrong.  We are here to share information and to help you be a more supportive colleague and more effective in serving the LGBT people in your community.  To understand and accept someone else does not require your agreement.  As a law enforcement officer, you obligation is to treat everyone fairly and equally, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity and regardless of your own personal beliefs.”

It’s not a matter of if or when an LGBT employee will be hired – they are already working in law enforcement organizations throughout the country.  The issue is whether or not these colleagues of ours feel confident and comfortable coming out and being out at work.  When law enforcement officers understand LGBT colleagues, they are likely to be more comfortable in the field when serving LGBT members of the community.

Our Journey – Celebrating Pride Every Day

Screen Shot 2014-07-10 at 5.10.53 PMEveryone has a journey that has been shaped largely by the people we meet and by the events that have touched us along the way.  Greg Miraglia begins by discussing his own journey that started in 1976 just about the time when Proposition 6, a California voter initiative that would have ban all LGBT people from employment in public schools, was being considered in the State.  Mr. Miraglia talks about how events like the murder of Harvey Milk, the AIDS crisis, and the murder of Matthew Shepard impacted his perception of what it meant to be gay.  He explains the homophobia he experienced first-hand when entering law enforcement and how he managed a very successful career before finally coming out in 2004.

This program includes a number of videos offering an emotional experience as the history of the LGBT civil rights movement is explored from the 1960’s through today.  Mr. Miraglia discusses the huge gains in civil rights realized here in the United States while pointing out that a movement in the opposite direction is happening in other parts of the world.  In this program. Mr. Miraglia shows the audience that it’s not laws and policies that are going to make things better for law enforcement or the rest of the world.  It is only by coming out and sharing our stories that we can change minds and hearts.  Becoming proud of who you are takes courage and internal strength, but celebrating pride shouldn’t be a once-a-year event.  The challenge for us all is to celebrate our pride every day.   This is how we can change the world and help other understand LGBT people better.

Panel Discussion With LGBT Law Enforcement Professionals

IMG_1513One of the most effective ways of learning about the LGBT community is to hear the stories of LGBT people who are working in law enforcement.  We have an amazing team of professionals with a wide range of age, rank, and experience.  We can bring a panel to your organization or, better yet, bring your organization to the LGBT community.  We can immerse you in the LGBT community by providing a walking tour of the historic Castro District in San Francisco and include a round-table style panel discussion with LGBT law enforcement professionals.  This experience has received high praise from new recruits to seasoned veterans.   Like the programs above, our goals is to increase awareness through education and experience.  Our intent is to create a non-threatening open environment where participants can ask questions and engage in discussion with our experts.

We can also provide:

  • Work Place Harassment And Discrimination Prevention Training
  • Customized Training That Creates A Supportive Environment For LGBT Personnel
  • Policy And Procedure Development And Review
  • Keynote And Special Event Presentations
  • Litigation And Expert Witness Consultation

New Online Training Coming In 2017

This year we will be launching a brand new online version of our LGBT Awareness training for law enforcement.  This training will provide the basic knowledge that law enforcement officers need to better understand and service members of the LGBTQ+ community.

If you are interested in learning more or getting a quote for one of the programs above, send us a note:  CLICK HERE For Our Contact Form.

Posted in Announcements, Author Appearances Tagged with: , , ,

NVC Board Honors Greg Miraglia

RESOLUTION OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES OF THE
NAPA VALLEY COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT
IN HONOR OF

Greg Miraglia

WHEREAS, Greg began teaching at Napa Valley College in 1986 with the 3rd Basic Police Academy class. He served as the coordinator of the Reserve Police Academy Program from 1988 until 1994 when he became a recruit training officer for Basic Police Academy classes;

WHEREAS, In addition to his work for the college, Greg serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Matthew Shepard Foundation and is the National Program Coordinator for Campus Pride’s Safe Spaces training program and the Stop the Hate! Program;

WHEREAS, Greg was hired full time at the college as the director of the Police Academy in 1999 becoming a dean in 2006 assuming responsibility for the Business and Computer Studies and Technical divisions, the Small Business Development Center, the Child Development Center, and, for nearly two years, the Upper Valley Campus;

WHEREAS, Greg’s leadership led to a dedicated mat room for hand-to-hand combat training, a training area for perfecting the driving skills of police academy recruits, the development of a unique community policing project, a portfolio capstone project, and the implementation of a competency based evaluation in the Police Academy;

WHEREAS, Greg’s efforts and vision resulted in the college’s LGBT Studies Program which prepares students for transfer and provides career training for future and incumbent teachers who are required to deliver topic specific curriculum required by the Fair and Inclusive Education Act;

WHEREAS, Greg’s dedication an individual’s right to learn and work in a safe environment propelled him to create Napa Valley College’s Safe Space Program and facilitate the development of the college’s Bias Incident Response Team;

WHEREAS, Greg’s commitment to tolerance, acceptance, diversity and equity led to his selection as the recipient of the Governor’s Award For Organizational Excellence from the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training and his selection as the recipient of the California Community College Chancellor’s Office “John W. Rice Diversity Award.”;

WHEREAS, Greg has been a consummate leader and colleague that values and respects the members of the college community and always put the needs of the students first;

WHEREAS, Greg’s compassion, calmness, professionalism, and humor will be greatly missed;

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the Board of Trustees and the entire college community join in extending to Greg Miraglia our sincere thank you and best wishes for a happy, healthy retirement.

December 8, 2016

Michael J. Baldini, Board Chair
Rafael Rios, Vice President
Rosaura Segura
Jennifer Baker
Kyle Iverson
Mary Ann Mancuso
Amy Martenson
Dr. Ron Kraft, Superintendent/President

Posted in Press Release Tagged with: ,

Happy Holidays

otpchristmas2016card

Posted in Announcements

Community Hypocrisy

Law enforcement has had a strained relationship with the transgender community for many decades.  And much like other minority groups, the transgender community has clashed many times with law enforcement throughout the community’s fight for equality and civil rights.  But some law enforcement agencies are taking aggressive steps to mend this relationship through direct engagement with the transgender community.  It’s often individual officers who are making the real gains in overcoming mistrust and even hatred of police.  The San Diego Police Department and Officer Christine Garcia are two excellent examples.

Last week the San Diego LGBT Community Center hosted an event as part of the National Transgender Day of Remembrance.  Officer Garcia, as a member of the transgender community, helped organize the event.  But when she showed up for the event in her San Diego Police uniform, she was turned away by community center personnel.  Wait, what?  The LGBT Community Center turned away a transgender woman, who helped organize their event, who showed up to participate and to provide security for the event, and who was in a police uniform, because they didn’t want to make attendees feel uncomfortable?

LGBTQ Nation and numerous other news sources carried the story and the response from Delores Jacobs, CEO of the San Diego LGBT Community Center, who “called the incident a regrettable misunderstanding.’While we need to support those that are uncomfortable and honor their reactions to valid and understandable difficult previous experiences, we also need to explain that our LGBTQ San Diego police liaisons are a valued part of our community,’ she said in a statement.”

I’ll be the first to admit that law enforcement has a huge relationship problem in general with many segments of the public, but when an individual officer, who is a member of the community, and a law enforcement agency, like San Diego PD, makes the effort to engage and to build trust, I think it’s unacceptable for an advocacy and community organization like the LGBT Center to reject such efforts.

Look, you can’t have it both ways.  You can’t criticize law enforcement for being distant and disconnected, advocate for equal treatment and respect from police, and then turn away those officers who are truly working to make a difference, much like Officer Garcia.  Of all segments of the LGBT community who have a stake in trust building with police, it’s the transgender community.

We believe, now more than ever, that law enforcement agencies need to focus on trust and relationship building with all groups, but this is particularly important for the LGBT community and the transgender community.  Law enforcement is finally starting to see examples of transgender officers becoming visible within the rank and this creates the perfect opportunity for departments to develop liaisons with, as in this case, the transgender community.  But the community has to participate and be willing to engage in return.  Actions like this one do great harm, even if it is found to be a “misunderstanding.”  Don’t complain about a lack of relationship and trust of police unless you are willing to reach out and meet law enforcement even part of the way.

We applaud San Diego Police and Officer Garcia for all they are doing to engage and build trust.

Posted in Commentary Tagged with: , , ,