Transgender on Transgender Intolerance

There has been racism and discrimination in our world for thousands of years and transgender men and women are not exempt from that behavior, I personally think it is disgusting and deplorable that people are not allowed to be themselves and just allowed to be happy with who they are. I came out of the closet and began my transition from male to female about four years ago and had bottom surgery just this past January 2022. I have been told I am passable although I personally am not so sure, especially since I am 5’11” tall and have a deep voice, even though I try to change my pitch. I consider myself very lucky to be one of the few who have never been discriminated against, been laughed, at or made fun of……until now, and from a very unlikely source.

Recently I received an email from a transgender group in Seattle looking for facilitators willing volunteer to facilitate their weekly Zoom group meetings. The meetings consisted of transgender and non-binary men and women. The facilitator’s responsibility was to keep the meetings civil and not getting off topic.

I have been looking for some way to get involved in transgender issues as well as become more active in community service for quite some time. You see, not only am I a transgender woman, I am also a retired deputy sheriff, having retired in 2011. I thought being a facilitator would be a good way to become involved in my community as well as being fun, so I responded to the email my interest in becoming a facilitator. I was contacted by email a couple of days later and a Zoom meeting was scheduled between myself and the director of the group for the next day. I was excited and was looking forward to the meeting. When we met, we talked a lot about the program and the Zoom meetings as well what the responsibilities of the facilitator would be. We also made small talk about myself and what my thoughts on being a facilitator were. I told her I retired after serving as a deputy sheriff for thirty years and that I had retired in 2011. I also told her I had started transitioning about four years ago and had GRS surgery in January of 2022. I learned the director was transgender woman also, but considered herself non-binary. We spent about an hour or so chatting, and the meeting came to a close. The director seemed to be very pleased with me as well as my background and felt I would make a good facilitator. Sheasked that I begin attending the Zoom meetings to get a feel for the meetings. She said training would be required to learn how to run the meetings and she would let me know when the next training session would be. Once I completed the training, I would be required to co-facilitate a couple of meetings as part of the training, then I would be allowed to facilitate on my own. I finished the meeting and felt it went well and looked forward to the training and eventually becoming a facilitator.

I started attending the Zoom meetings, although I did not say much as I did not know anyone and wanted to gradually integrate myself into the group. On my second meeting I learned a training session had been scheduled for the next day. I had been told three weeks prior, during my Zoom meeting with the director, I could probably take part in the next training. I was kind of surprised when I learned of this training and that I had not been notified. The director was attending the Zoom meeting and I asked her about it. She said he would contact me the next day.

The next day I received an email from the director, and I was amazed and disappointed at what I read. She started out by thanking me for applying to be a facilitator and that they pride themselves of being accepting of all people. They do not condone racism or discrimination in any form, and they want people to feel comfortable. Then came the big “HOWEVER”. They could not accept my application and would not accept me as a facilitator because of my background being a cop. They wanted everyone to feel comfortable and because I was a retired cop I could not be trusted by the organization or the participants of the Zoom meetings. Due to the fact that participants felt they were discriminated against by the police. She said if I wanted, I could continue to take part in the Zoom group meetings and that maybe they could eventually find a different way I could be helpful.

I was kind of shocked and disappointed. I have been turned down for things before, but NEVER for being a police officer. I couldn’t help thinking, “Wasn’t this exactly what they were claiming they were not doing?” This was not very welcoming and, in my opinion, very discriminating. I felt being a cop was exactly the reason I should be a facilitator. Maybe I could have change some of their beliefs about cops. I would be ridiculous to think that people in the LGBTQ Community haven’t been discriminated by the police, but I can say with confidence, most cops are very professional and have very high moral standards and do not discriminate. I was a darned good cop and treated everyone with the utmost dignity and respect and never allowed any kind of bias affect how I enforced the law. In fact, on more than one occasion I was asked, “Why aren’t more cops like you?”

The people of the organization I was applying to be a facilitator don’t know me, yet they based their opinion of me on the actions of a small number of cops who abuse and discriminate against people. Why was I not told this during the interview process? You can’t tell me the director was not thinking this while talking to me.

I decided I did not wish to be a part of an organization who was practicing exactly what they claimed they would not accept, and I did let them know that, very politely of course. A couple of weeks later I received an email about them wishing to have the next group meeting in person instead of Zoom. I was surprised when I saw the email and politely declined the meeting as I did not wish to offend anyone by my presence. I also asked to be removed from their mailing list.

Maybe I am wrong in my thinking.

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Karyn is a retired deputy sheriff who lives in Washington State with her wife. She is a post op transgender woman and would love to hear your comments.

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Karyn Marie

Karyn Marie

Karyn is a retired deputy sheriff who lives in Washington State with her wife. She is a post op transgender woman and would love to hear your comments.

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