IDAHO a reminder of what we should be doing every day
This week police officers from Surry Hills, Parramatta, Blacktown and all over the state will be supporting community events and activities commemorating International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia on May 17.
This event provides our police with a number of opportunities to do good police work – perhaps not in the traditional sense but in terms of community engagement, education and providing support to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and intersex members of the community.
I feel this is a great opportunity to look within as well as outside our own organisation and help raise awareness and offer education on the challenges many people still face, sometimes on a daily basis, just to be able to express who they are. Even in Australia, advanced in many formal aspects, violence and discrimination still exists such as verbal abuse, exclusive workplace practices, negative jokes and insults and discriminatory social attitudes. As Corporate Sponsor on Sexuality and Gender Diversity for the NSW Police Force I am keen to see education and support both within our ranks as well as within the broader community – we are all members of the NSW ‘community’ and each have a role to play to help make it a safer place to live and one in which everyone is respected.
Like many ‘days’ of commemoration on our calendar, even though specific activities are held on this day, they are merely a reminder of things we should be doing every day. For example, our GLLO (Gay and Lesbian Liaison Officer) Program has been running in NSW for almost 25 years. GLLOs receive specialist training and have a statement of duties, like all our other specialist liaison officers. But doing GLLO work can be as simple as identifying a hostile joke in the workplace and naming it. Officers who are not GLLO trained can do GLLO work by providing sensitive and supportive customer service to a gay victim of crime. A School Liaison Officer providing support to a young transgender student at school is also supporting our GLLO Program.
This year, I am pleased to announce that the police in NSW will be working very closely with Pride in Diversity – Australia’s only non-profit employer support program – to make the NSW Police Force a more inclusive and supportive workplace for all LGBTI staff. Also on the agenda this year is a new regional support structure for our GLLOs in the establishment of ‘Regional Sponsor’ roles across the state. We will have six Regional Sponsors for Sexuality and Gender Diversity, each tasked with the responsibility to lead and support initiatives in their areas, including coordinating their GLLO efforts. Over the coming months I would like to take the opportunity to showcase some of these efforts through contributions by Region Sponsors to this column.
So on May 17 we can all do something, no matter how small, to show respect and support for people who are sexuality and gender diverse and together, all these small things will add up to make a difference.