History of LGBTQ in policing

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The presence of LGBTQ officers in law enforcement has a history of controversy. As times have changed, police forces have adapted by adding LGBTQ divisions, officers and committees within their ranks to account for legislation established by governments to protect individuals who previously had little or no voice when it came to laws impacting their own communities.

Diversity and inclusion in policing[edit]

Diversity in service and the elimination of discrimination across the planet is led by many individuals, staff, associations and others within the global police community.

Inclusivity, evolution, acceptance, intersectionality, organizational values and career advancement lead to proud cops and growing acceptance.[1]

Nevertheless, many LGBTQ individuals still face significant discrimination in the police force. In a 2013 study of British forces, Jones and Williams found that almost 20% of sexual minority officers said they experienced discrimination. At the same time, only 25% of those individuals reported the incident to a supervisor.[2]

The following is a timeline of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) police history.




  • In this year, 1969, a Washington, DC area officer transitioned and served as female officer for 12 of 32 years total.




  • Alameda County (California) Sheriff's office begins recruiting gay officers, in the face of gay crime victims in San Francisco having reluctance to report the crimes against them.[3]



  • New York City mayor Ed Koch bans discrimination in police hiring on the basis of sexual orientation. This meets with resistance from the city's Patrolmen's Benevolent Association.[4]
  • San Francisco becomes the first city in America to have a recruitment drive for gay police officers, bringing in over 350 applications.[3]




""He gets up and says, 'I'm proud to be a New York City police officer,'" Humm said. "And then he says, 'I'm equally proud to be gay.' And the City Hall chamber, Council chamber almost fell out."[6]



  • New York City police sergeant Charles H. Cochrane Jr. and former Fairview, New Jersey sergeant Sam Ciccone form the first group targeted at the needs of gay members of law enforcement, the Gay Officers Action League (GOAL).[4]



  • The Golden State Peace Officers Association, "an organization of gay police officers, sheriff's deputies, California Highway Patrol officers and other homosexual law enforcement personnel.", was started in 1985 and is thought to have been formed as an informal group of officers who "got together after work to drink beer and discuss the frustrations of police work. In a Spokane, Washington news article from 1987, a reporter claims the group was unofficially called "Pigs In Paradise."[7]



United Kingdom

  • Gay Police Association (GPA) founded by Constable James Bradley from the Metropolitan Police Service plus four other officers to represent the interests and needs of gay and bisexual police and staff in the United Kingdom.



  • The death of Alain Brosseau inspired the creation of a combined effort of LGBT activists and Ottawa police and formed the GLBT Ottawa Police Liaison Committee. It included sensitivity training for police officers, as many of the LGBT activists noted the hatred and intolerance for the gay community that was held by members of the RCMP and Ottawa city police. The “diversity training” was a three-hour session that was held for all 600 members of the Ottawa city police service.[8]


  • The Lesbian and Gay Police Association was initially a group of four Chicago police officers who founded the organization to support gay and closeted police officers at that time. "The LGPA is dedicated to promoting solidarity and upholding Human Rights, providing support and social interaction for its members and to promote understanding between the police and the LGBT Communities through education, communication and charitable acts."[9]



  • Some sources say the country's first hate crimes unit was created in Ottawa while other sources claim it never existed and is rather the “security and intelligence service” misinterpreted as the hate crime unit. However the security and intelligence service does investigate hate crimes.[10]



The first float on the 1995 GLBT parade in Chicago was the GOAL-Illinois float.



European Union



  • Peru announces a nationwide ban on police officers who have same-gender sexual relations, stating that they caused harm to the image of the police force.[12]



United Kingdom


United Kingdom

United States

  • Two gay police officers become the first partnered couple to graduate from the Boston Police Academy together. At the time of their graduation, it was believed that the couple may have been the first openly gay couple in any major police department in the U.S.[14]



  • A gay Toronto police officer sends an open letter to organizers of Pride Toronto regarding political action by Black Lives Matter in 2016's parade that demanded the organizers exclude Toronto Police Service uniformed officers and police vehicles from participating in future parade festivities.[15]

"Police officers are significantly represented in the LGBTQ community and it would be unacceptable to alienate and discriminate against them and those who support them. They too struggled to gain a place and workplace free from discrimination and bias."

  • Police in Toronto establish the Youth Justice Bursary Fund headed by an LGBTQ Liaison officer who provides community policing support to Toronto Police Service LGBTQ members and community members.


  • Chile's Hugo Alcalde becomes that country's first gay police officer to have a civil union.[16]


  • The 1st annual World LGBT Conference for Criminal Justice Professionals[17] was held in August of this year with the theme of "To Connect And Inspire".

United States

  • Among those injured in a Dallas, Texas sniper attack in July 2016 was a Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer. He and his former husband - himself a DART officer - worked with "Resource Center, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender organization —  to get same-sex partner benefits for DART a few years earlier".[18]

Historical associations[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Couto, Joe. "Covered in Blue: Police Culture and LGBT Police Officers" (PDF). RoyalRoads.ca. dspace.royalroads.ca. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  2. ^ Jones, Matthew; Williams, Matthew L. (2015-03-04). "Twenty years on: lesbian, gay and bisexual police officers' experiences of workplace discrimination in England and Wales" (PDF). Policing and Society. 25 (2): 188–211. doi:10.1080/10439463.2013.817998. ISSN 1043-9463.
  3. ^ a b Cohen, Susan (April 25, 1979). "Homosexual Police Officers". The Evening Independent. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  4. ^ a b Weber, Bruce (May 17, 2015). "Sam Ciccone, a Champion of Gay Police Officers, Dies at 71". New York Times. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  5. ^ Anna Qundlen, "A Tough Month in the New Life of a Policeman", The New York Times, Dec. 5, 1981.
  6. ^ Scotto, Michael. "Greenwich Village Street Named After Man Considered NYPD's First Publicly Gay Officer". \NY1.com. Time Warner Cable Enterprises LLC. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  7. ^ Dickey, Jim (March 16, 1987). "Gay police officers increasingly in open". Spokane Chronicle. Knight Ridder. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  8. ^ Duffy, rew; Citizen, Ottawa; August 15, Marie-Danielle Smith Updated; 2014 (2014-08-15). "Death by hate: The life, power and symbolism of Alain Brosseau | Ottawa Citizen". Retrieved 2019-07-31.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ "The Lesbian and Gay Police Association-1992 to 2005". goalchicago.info. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  10. ^ CBC News (May 15, 2019). "Hate crime unit confusion 'unfortunate,' interim chief says". CBC News.
  11. ^ "About Us". gay-police.eu. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  12. ^ Collyns, Dan (14 May 2009). "Peru to ban gay police officers". BBC News. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  13. ^ Wilkinson, Michael. ""I'm gay" says Gloucestershire Chief Constable Suzette Davenport | Gloucestershire Live". GloucestershireLive. Local World Limited. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  14. ^ "Boston's Finest: Gay Couple Is First to Graduate Police Academy Together". Out.com. Here Media Inc. 2015-06-17. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  15. ^ "This gay Toronto cop sent an open letter to Pride Toronto about the Black Lives Matter protest". CBC. July 4, 2016. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  16. ^ "Meet The First Gay Police Officer In Chile To Celebrate A Civil Union". The Huffington Post. Reuters. Retrieved 8 September 2016.
  17. ^ POLITIE NEDERLAND, "Proud To Be Your Friend", 2016
  18. ^ "Profiles in courage: A look at the lives of the Dallas ambush victims". DallasNews.com. Reuters. Retrieved 8 September 2016.