“It’s been ten years since I wrote Coming out from behind the Badge and so much has changed. In 2004, same-sex marriage was a pipe-dream former San Francisco Mayor, Gavin Newsome attempted to make real. Now, in 2015, marriage equality is the law of the land and same-sex couples can marry in all 50 states. We are finally really talking about non-heterosexuality and gender identity in schools, in the workplace, and even in law enforcement training. I’ve always said, and still maintain, that law enforcement is 20 years behind the rest of society in its acceptance and understanding of diversity. In the 1970s and ’80s, it was racial diversity and women that were issues of struggle in law enforcement. Today, it’s gay and transgender people. The good news is that change is happening.
I chose to produce a second edition rather than a third new book so I could update my own story and content in the first book in order to make it relevant for today. You will find some of the same stories as well as many new ones in this book along with a new section on LGBT history. I’ve included LGBT history that is relevant and important for law enforcement personnel to know. Like many minority groups that have had to fight for equality and civil rights, LGBT people have clashed with law enforcement.
Over the last century and a half, LGBT people have been targeted by police in ways that have left scars and a lack of faith and trust in law enforcement. It is important for anyone in law enforcement to know the origins of these scars and of the events that contribute to the lack of trust many LGBT people still carry with them.
This book’s subtitle, “The history, events, and people who shape our journey,” captures my belief that who we are today is very much influenced by the history we witness, the events we experience, and the people we meet. All of us have a journey in life, and for LGBT people, “coming out” can be as significant a part of that journey as one’s own birth. It is a life-changing event that is often surrounded by tremendous fear and shame. But coming out is so very worth it and the experience of having done it is one I will always consider the most significant of my life.
I hope that you appreciate and enjoy the stories contained in these pages. Most importantly, I hope you learn from the experiences of everyone who shared their journey. If you are searching for a way to “come out,” look for it here. And if you are an ally, student, or colleague, I offer you an explanation and insight to the LGBT community. Thank you for taking the time to learn.”