The Transgender Day of Awareness, an annual event to honor those who lost their lives to anti-transgender violence, was held Nov. 17 in the Hillcrest neighborhood of San Diego
Officer Christine Garcia, who transitioned last year, and helped plan the event and was part of the Police Department security detail that watched over a commemorative march down University Avenue. After the march, when Garcia tried to enter the event as a member of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community, she was asked to leave because her uniform could upset “trigger” others in attendance.
Since news of Garcia’s rejection has come to light, San Diego LGBT Community Center CEO Dr. Delores Jacobs has released an apology for what she called a “misunderstanding”:
“When [police officers] are attending events, they are not here to ‘police’ The Center — though they may be in uniform or on-duty…
We do not wish to ever make any community member feel unwelcome at The Center — these officers are valued members of our community.”
Nonetheless, Jacobs did note “that The Center has a responsibility to respect members who may not trust uniformed officers.”
“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… our LGBTQ San Diego police liaisons are a valued part of our community,” Jacobs wrote.
Longtime LGBTQ activist, City Commissioner Nicole Murray-Ramirez, said the incident was an outrage.
“Any officer, be they gay or straight, should be welcomed into our community center in uniform,” he said. “They protect our community and neighborhoods and make San Diego a better place.”
Murray-Ramirez said relations between the LGBTQ community and the Police Department have vastly improved over the last several decades, in part because of the work done by liaisons such as Garcia.
“They’ve really reached out to the community,” he said of the department. “They’ve gotten to know the community. There are always rotten apples, but on a whole we have progressed greatly. And we’re very appreciative of them and that progress.”
Shame, shame, shame.