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Some don’t have a voice, but I speak on their behalf

PSA Lead for LGBT+ members, Paul Court, has shared a blog to mark International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia 2022:

I always write a blog for a significant date and today is no different: it is International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT). It occurs on the same date each year (17th May) and it started back in 2004, the same year I joined the service.  The date has relevance as it was that date back in 1990 when that the World Health Organisation removed homosexuality from the list of mental disorders.
I am fortunate that the Police Superintendents’ Association gives me a voice to talk about LGBT+ matters. When I took on this role, I recognised that being gay doesn’t bestow an expert status upon me and so I committed to listening to colleagues so that my voice is an informed one. Listening to the challenges of colleagues over the last twelve months hasn’t been easy and it has required difficult conversations (and difficult questions – hear my question to the Chair of the APCC at last year’s PSA conference here). As it is IDAHOBIT, I want to mention a few things that my colleagues who sometimes are unable to speak up, want to be said. Their views are also my views.
Last year we saw a Police and Crime Commissioner describe the drive to ensure equality for Trans people as a “dangerous ideology”.  The same PCC was found to have posted a tweet which was considered not “dignified or respectful” by the Police and Crime Panel. She was supported by another PCC who described those who seek equality as “intolerant extremists”. On a day where we make a stand against transphobia, I will shine a light again on this behaviour just as my colleagues would want me to.  Every one of us in the policing family, whether employed or volunteer, elected or not, have an absolute duty to take great care how we communicate. As our oaths state, we are here to accord equal respect to all people without favour.
Earlier this year we have seen the Home Office direct that we must record a victim’s sex as their birth sex. When all other protected characteristics are self-defined, this is the only category where officers must record their birth sex. Just take a second to consider the consequences of this. Your Trans colleague is the victim of crime whilst on duty and you are now under an obligation to record the ‘opposite’ sex against their wishes and potentially out them. Take a second to consider how you would feel if you were in that position. This simply isn’t right and it is not inclusive. I will shine a light on these types of policies just as my colleagues would want me to.  
Sadly, I am able to speak of another occasion where the impact of our messages has caused hurt. Past harm has been reignited unnecessarily in 2022. One police force’s tribute last week to a retired Chief Constable was misjudged at best as were the re-tweets and endorsements from other senior accounts including the National Police Chief’s Council. In the interests of showing dignity, I will say no more other than to state two things. It is not okay to endorse leadership who have held views that “those at risk of AIDS were swirling around in a human cesspit of their own making”. And it is not okay to endorse leadership who have stated that “sodomy between males is an abhorrent offence and ought to be against the criminal law”. I know my colleagues would want me to say that homophobic leadership must never be endorsed. To do so recently was simply wrong. 
If policing wants to be inclusive rather than speak of being inclusive, then it must do far better. And I include everyone involved in policing – the Home Office, PCCs and Police Forces. Today is an opportunity to consider how we contribute to a society where homophobia, transphobia and biphobia is not allowed to flourish. 
Finally, I pay tribute to those who have shown true leadership by courageously fighting against homophobia, transphobia and biphobia. And I take a moment to remember those who have lost their lives due to the homophobic, transphobic and biphobic behaviour of others. 
Until next time, 
P.S. I highly recommend It’s a Sin (Channel 4) and Heartstopper (Netflix) for series showing the impact of H,B and T. If you are a victim of H,B or T and want help, visit Galop. The national police LGBT network website also has helpful info. And as always, I am here to chat if you want to inform my voice.