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The Police Academy - Questions and Answers

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Written by  | Published in: Personal stories

by Luke Bryant


I have previously reported, in PTWW Personal Stories that I was invited to join other volunteers representing different areas of Victoria's diverse community at the Police Academy. My duties continue re supporting the training of Police Recruits via a program entitled "Community Encounters".


These recruit "Encounters" at the Academy have occurred during 25 sessions to date with about 1000 police recruits and protective service officers over a period of years during 70 or more hours.


I continue to have great opportunities to provide gay input that assists future sworn Officers in their potential response to the many gay issues remaining in the general community.

 


pdf  Click to download a PDF version of this article.


Question and answer 15 minute sessions between individual volunteers follow orders from a sworn officer to recruits, not ask what Group, if any, the volunteers represent, but practice their questioning abilities in the short time provided - and remember - the volunteer is not required to answer an embarrassing or threatening question.


Following formal introductions, I declare, "I'm gay and representing myself" before continuing, "The Kinsey Reports, Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male (1948) and Sexual Behaviour in the Human Female, (1953) make it clear that a person's sexuality is the way they were born, not what they chose."


I continue, "At least 10% of the world's population is not heterosexual. There are 70 or more people in this room, so who may be gay or lesbian?"


Over many weeks, the same reply from the majority of recruits occurs, "Who cares?" Surely, this is a good news response.


Because limited time hinders detailed investigation of my background, about 5 minutes into each session, I supply each recruit with a copy of my Curriculum Vitae. (CV)


This provides recruits with opportunities for further interrogation that I was pleased to answer. It includes employment, Astronomy, RAAF, Motorcycling, classical music, various publications and my involvement with the Gay a Lesbian Police Employees Network. (GALPEN)


I continue, "Part of GALPEN's efforts helped support the establishment of the Victoria Police, Gay and Lesbian Liaison Unit and that is why I sit here today so that you can raise gay issues I'll answer."


"What was it like being gay in your day when it was illegal before the Sex Discrimination Act 1984?


I remind recruits, "As today, it was the duty of police to uphold the law, but a few did exceed their responsibility. However, it was the law making politicians, as today, that allowed their religious beliefs to determine law in a culturally diverse democratic country and that was and is wrong." Interestingly enough, all recruits agreed. My reply usually results in their next question, "Do you believe there is a God?" I counter their question in two ways.


"The study of astronomy supplies evidence of our universe extending at least 14.3 billion light years, so far we have not yet found any evidence of Gods, so the answer to your question is - there is no answer to the question."


I continue, "You are free to believe what you choose, but remember, you cannot take your belief into a Law Court where evidence only is required - not belief."


Recruits agreed with my reasoning before continuing with enquiries relative to my varied interests.


"Did you ever tell your parents that you were gay?"


"Yes! When I was 25, they had no problem with my sexuality and when in 1997 I joined GALPEN (Vic) Inc. as their Official Photographer and it was clear to all associates, gay or straight, as our Network endeavoured and eventually succeeded in helping change Police response to gay issues.


"But how did your straight close friends react."


"Years earlier, I was the Best Man at the wedding of a friend in my RAAF Squadron. Today, one of his children is a helicopter pilot with the New South Police, being gay is not a problem."


Question: "Did you ever think of joining the police force?"


Reply: "With a long history of service in both parents familiars that goes back several generations, I guess I have the service gene in my makeup, so yes, I did consider joining, but there was two problems, being gay was one I could have hidden, the other, I could not, I was not tall enough in those days. However, service found other ways via the RAAF Reserve and years later, in another area of Law Enforcement before my connection to GALPEN. (Details not disclosed here)


There is another occasional question of particular interest to all GLBTI persons. "Are gay adults in general sexually attracted to children".


The short answer is, "No. However, the increasing acceptance of gay and lesbian citizens by the heterosexual community requires our increased vigilance against possible criminality. With gay rights/marriage and more on our agenda gay persons need to be seen to be above reproach.


The recruits had also been instructed to prepare a written biography of each of the community volunteers following their questioning. Although Q & A's above relate to gay issues, recruits continue to be far more interested in my professional and community areas of interest, not in any way related to being gay. This is another good indication of public changing attitude toward homosexuality.

graduation-dayDespite the small percentage of older gay and lesbian persons willingly retaining sad memories of the era when Australian Law rejected homosexuality and police acted at times badly, today I try to modify their point of view and if they feel challenged, their approach may need a re-think.


I can only suggest, if you are gay, it is better to come out and not prejudge police, judge them after they respond to your request for help.

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Last modified on Tuesday, 28 January 2014 09:10
Luke Bryant

Retired, following 20 years at Monash University, Dept. of Physics as Head of Photographic Laboratory from 1962 to the end of 1982 – to become openly involved with Gay/Lesbian issues in Law Enforcement, particularly those of Gay/Lesbian Victoria Police Officers.

I'm also a member of the Victoria Police Blue Ribbon Foundation,  formed  to perpetuate the memory of members of the Victoria Police killed in the line of duty. This is achieved through fund raising with money going to specialized medical facilities in Victorian public hospitals. 

To date, the Blue Ribbon Foundation has allocated more than $3 million to community projects that give specialized treatment and medical care to over 65,000 patients each year.

* See: Articles in Prime Timers, "ACCEPTANCE - NOT TOLERANCE AND HATE-CRIMES"  Pages 10 & 11, February 2012 and "TIMES PAST" Pages 10 & 11,  August 2012. 

Much of my history and photos can be found throughout my website on Yahoo “flickr”.  See below.

Website: www.flickr.com/photos/rlukebryant/

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