More than 10 years after the city of Los Angeles agreed to end discrimination against gays and lesbians in the os Angeles Police Department, the LAPD can be a hostile, even frightening place for homosexual officers, says the Los Angeles Times. “Most gay officers are still in the closet,” said retired Sgt. Mitch Grobeson, 45, who won a court settlement in 1993 requiring the city to provide gay and lesbian officers a discrimination-free workplace. “Those who are openly gay are working in an environment filled with fear.” The settlement mandated recruiting in the gay community and expanding instruction to include topics related to sexual orientation. It said discrimination investigations must be handled with discretion and sensitivity, and it banned disqualifying applicants for promotion because of sexual orientation.
Sixteen homosexual officers, including five who had resigned or retired, told the Times that being openly gay slows promotions, makes discipline more likely and jeopardizes careers. Openly gay officers, they said, are not welcome in the vice, juvenile, metro, SWAT, organized crime, or anti-terrorism units. Throughout the department, they said, lesbians are more accepted than gay men. The gay officers cited specific incidents of discrimination, including slurs, harassment and rejection for better assignments. Police Chief William Bratton who has said that he has a sister who is lesbian, saidt he knew of no stigma to being a gay officer. The LAPD does not keep track of how many officers are gay. Kristi Nielsen, an officer in community relations, estimated that there are about 250 homosexuals among the 9,200 officers and 150 are comfortable enough to be open about their sexual orientation.