Transgender cop opens up about coming out to 1800 police officers
A transgender police officer has opened up about her experiences.
32-year-old San Diego officer Christine Garcia had started work before she started to transition – but in July 2015, she decided to transition to female.
She said: “I was really having a tough time with it.
“I didn’t know of any other transgender officers, and I didn’t know you could be transgender and be a police officer.”
But Ms Garcia, an accident investigation officer for the San Diego Police Department, decided that to transition at work, she would need to come out to her entire department of 1800 people.
Though there were no other openly trans officers on the force, she first came out to the department’s LGBT liaison sergeant, Dan Meyer.
Mayer said: “This was definitely a first for the SDPD – I knew going into this that we were going to set the standard. We wanted to make sure we were doing everything we could to make sure her process was what she wanted it to look like.
Garcia did eventually work up the courage to come out to the entire force and begin working as female.
She said: “Telling 1,800 officers that I’m transgender and not knowing how they were going to treat me was my biggest obstacle,.
“I really didn’t know if I was going to lose all respect from them because here I was, I was going from masculine to feminine in a primarily masculine profession.”
“But a lot of them came to me and said ‘you’re a good cop and that’s all that matters’.
“It was very inspiring to me – it showed me that I can be a cop and transgender, and it really is OK.”
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However, she eventually found acceptance on the force – with support from San Diego LGBT organisation The Center.
Ms Garcia says she hopes to now bring the same level of support through her policing.
She said: “I took it upon myself to get involved in the community because I care about my community.
“It’s the community that I work for.
“I know there are others out there like me, and I also want to be there to help them through their process if they choose to come out because it’s really difficult to do this alone.”