Two local transgender law enforcement officers — one a Seattle police officer and the other a King County sheriff’s deputy — are the subjects of a documentary on HBO.
“VICE News Tonight” correspondent Caroline Modarressy-Tehrani interviewed Officer Tori Newburn and sheriff’s Deputy Jamie Deer for the program.
Newburn is the first openly transgender officer on Seattle’s force. He had begun his transition to male when he enrolled in a police academy in 2014.
“People wouldn’t know I was transgender unless I told them,” Newburn said.
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Deer began his career in the Sheriff’s Office as a woman. When he began to transition he knew he had to come out as transgender.
“I would rather face an armed suspect … than having to come out to 700 co-workers,” Deer said. “To open yourself up like that was terrifying.”
Newburn and Deer said they hope their coming out will foster trust between the transgender community and law enforcement agencies.
“It’s a long process to earn trust back when trust has been broken in the past,” Newburn said. “My hope is that me coming out as a transgender police officer will be another layer in building that bridge.”
“Trans Law Enforcement” premiered Thursday on “VICE News Tonight.” It is available on HBO Go, HBO Now and HBO On Demand.
As the transgender community has gained visibility, legislation affecting them has increased in the form of so-called “bathroom bills” that require transgender people in public buildings to use the bathroom that corresponds with the sex on their birth certificate.
In Washington, proponents failed to get a measure on the ballot in 2016.