Lesbian Police Officer disinvited from Creating Change
When diverse individuals and groups bring their intersections to a conference that purports to ‘create change,’ what we may find is a complex puzzle. The question is whether the connecting of ALL pieces to the puzzle is possible? Not if pieces are lost! Mixing people from diverse backgrounds, experiences, careers, professions, religions, tribes, ethnicities, belief systems, genders, sexualities, etc etc., – can be puzzling, as they attempt to engage on unifying issues while navigating those which diverge. If one were to use the puzzle analogy, one would strive to create the FULL PICTURE by completing the puzzle, failing which, where would one begin to create change for all? That means every single piece of that puzzle counts toward the completion of that picture. One lost piece, one broken piece, renders the experiment null and void. Because there would be a non existent, or at the most, a skewered picture!
Detroit Police Department LGBT Liaison Cpl. Dani Woods posted on Facebook that she had been “disinvited” to participate in a panel discussion at this week’s Creating Change Conference 2019, sponsored by the National LGBTQ Task Force, taking place in Detroit. Cpl. Woods was supposed to sit on a panel for the “What the L? All Things Lesbian” workshop, to participate in a discussion about the movement, wellness, mental health, education and financial and family planning.
Woods reported that she was told that if she were to attend in her police uniform and/or carrying a gun, she would not be welcome, even though she was asked to appear on the panel in her official capacity as LGBT liaison.
In an article on PrideSource:
Initially contacted via email, Creating Change Director Andy Garcia, a full-time employee with the National LGBTQ Task Force, was concise in his response.
“I had a conversation with Officer Woods,” Garcia said. “I asked that she not attend the conference in uniform with her weapon. She said that was not possible. Creating Change has an explicit policy that no guns are allowed.”
But that’s not where the discussion ended. Since posting about the conference yesterday, Woods has received about 100 comments, nearly all of them in support, and her post has been shared 20 times.
“They are seriously discriminating against me to my face,” said Woods Wednesday when reached by phone. “That’s what makes it so hard. Policies I get. Policies are in place for a reason, but policies also sometimes exclude [in] certain instances. They also told me military personnel would be asked to leave if they were in uniform.
Still, in a later statement, Garcia stood firm. He said his intention was to protect conference attendees coming from cities and regions where relationships between the LGBT community and the police are rocky at best.
“Officer Woods has contributed to the LGBT movement and we applaud the progress she has made in Detroit between law enforcement and the LGBT community,” Garcia said. “At the same time, we have thousands of guests who have come from communities across the country that have had very different experiences with law enforcement. We need to listen to them, too.
“This rule is not about an individual person,” Garcia went on. “It’s about the relationship between law enforcement and black and brown communities, LGBT people and people with disabilities. Our primary responsibility is to the physical and emotional safety of our participants. While it may be different here in Detroit, we have people here from all over the country where that reality is not the case and there are toxic relationships between police and the community.” READ MORE HERE.
This is not the only controversy slamming Creating Change, the preeminent annual LGBTQ Conference, this weekend, as yet again anti-Semitism, similar to that which rocked the 2016 conference reared its ugly head again, rendering the space unwelcoming and unsafe for Jewish LGBTQ attendees! Indeed there has been a history of “disinviting” – lest we forget the Anti-Jewish 2016 Sabbath debacle. (SEE HERE)
Back to that puzzle: Astute leadership is clearly missing. All inclusive policy is clearly missing. How can Creating Change offer a real world experience if real world professions are isolated for discrimination. I do not purport to have the answers as to how to find or fix those lost and damaged pieces to the puzzle, but I sure as hell know that rolling around pretending they are not lost, or not damaged is not going resolve the problem. Let us hope, noting the complex and huge challenge involved, that National LGBTQ Task Force under the leadership of Rea Carey start to work towards creating some real change!
BY MELANIE NATHAN, mostly a mom!
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