Lives of Ontario LGBT cops revealed in new study
A bisexual cop who keeps her sexuality secret because of homophobic banter in her detachment. A lesbian officer who felt compelled to quit her job after coming out of the closet. A transgender cop who never noticed misogyny in his force until he entered the men’s locker room.
They are among 21 LGBT police officers interviewed in a landmark new study highlighting the struggles of queer police in Ontario. It is the first piece of Canadian research to explore the lives of gay cops.
And while Ontario police forces have come a long way since the Toronto bathhouse raids of 1981, many gay officers said they believe police culture is fundamentally “conservative,” “unaccepting,” and “an old boys’ network.”
“Until 20 or 30 years ago openly gay officers were a real anomaly,” said research author Joe Couto, who works for the Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police as the director of government relations and communications. “Policing is only now coming to grips with serving that community and including them in police organization.”