San Diego’s first ever transgender police officer was kicked out of an LGBT event which she helped to organize commemorating deaths in trans community to avoid upsetting other attendees.
Last Thursday the San Diego LGBT Community Center gathered to remember members of trans community who lost their lives to violence in the past year. Police Officer Christine Garcia, the first openly transgender cop in the San Diego Police Department, played an active role in the ceremony by being part of the planning committee for the event according to LGBT Weekly.
Following the march through the city to honor the trans lives, where Officer Garcia has been part of the police’s security detail to ensure safety, she then tried to enter the LGBT Community Center to attend the indoor event. As she entered the building, Garcia was stopped by the staff and was asked to leave the premises because her police uniform might upset others who were there.
Prominent LGBT activist and City Commissioner Nicole Murray Ramirez slammed the incident and called it an outrageous and “disgusting act”.
“In my over 45 years of activism, I have never heard of such an outrageous and disgusting act against one of our own at our community center, period. What makes this worse is all Officer Garcia wanted to do was to attend the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance and honor the many transgender Americans who have been killed or committed suicide,” she said.
After the leaders of San Diego LGBT Center learned about the incident, they offered an apology to Garcia and San Diego Police Chief Shelley Zimmerman, claiming it was a misunderstanding of the Center’s policies. They assured the police they are always welcome at The Center in police uniform.
In a statement to LGBT Weekly, chief executive officer of The Center Dr. Delores A. Jacobs said: “Officers Garcia and Myer are often here at The Center, sometimes at our request to help us untangle a situation where someone needs help, sometimes for meetings and other times to attend community events.
“When they are attending events, they are not here to “police” The Center – though they may be in uniform or on-duty. They are community members attending events on their lunch or dinner hours. They are welcome to be here in uniform. They are a part of our community.
“Unfortunately, there was a misunderstanding of our policy of inclusion the night of the Transgender Day of Remembrance event. This has been discussed with all staff members and the above policy re-clarified for all. We sincerely regret our miscommunication and error; direct apologies for our miscommunications were made to Officer Garcia and Chief Zimmerman. We do not wish to ever make any community member feel unwelcome at The Center – these officers are valued members of our community.
“Further, it is also important to understand that some other community members are uncomfortable with officers in uniform present at Center events. 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 Officers Christine Garcia and Dan Myer are our LGBTQ San Diego police liaisons and are a valued part of our community. This education is particularly important now when so many in our community, especially some of our youth, are afraid.”