WEST VILLAGE -- NYPD officers describe being ridiculed and discriminated against by fellow officers in a new, powerful documentary that premiered Thursday at the Stonewall Inn.
It’s produced jointly by the Gay Officers Action League of New York (GOAL) and the NYPD.
But the short film also shows how far the department has come to arrive at a place of inclusion. No matter the race or sexual orientation, they all wear blue.
It’s called “The Journey” a fitting title because it covers the history of GOAL and how it’s helping the nations largest police force evolve.
“What you have right now is the NYPD owning some of its history, especially an ugly part of its history,” said Detective Brian Downey, President of GOAL.
The location for the premiere - The Stonewall Inn - is one steeped in history and symbolic of how far the Department has come in terms of acceptance.
“We are an inclusive department, no way should someone have to hide in the closet or not identify with who they are. We are all here, we are all the same, we sit side-by-side in radio cars, we’re all blue,” said Terence Monahan, Chief of Department. “It doesn’t matter what your orientation is or race is, we’re all cops and this is how we serve the community, we need to be part of that community.”
Next June will be the 50th anniversary of the police raid at Stonewall that kicked off a movement. GOAL was formed in 1983 by Charlie Cochrans - the first openly gay officer in the NYPD.
Chief Monahan joined the NYPD in 1982.
“From where we were 1982 to where we are today is a world of difference and it’s so much better,” said Chief Monahan. “I’m standing here, Chief of Department and I’m in Stonewall Inn, 50 years ago, cops were storming the Stonewall Inn.
The producers of “The Journey” say it starts the healing process.
The film spotlights GOAL’s early challenges and the work they continue to do today. GOAL currently has several hundred members and they work to address the needs and concerns of LGBTQ law enforcement officers.
“We need to work together to work towards healing and reconciliation between the criminal justice community and the queer community,” said Det. Downey. “I think it’s important to work towards greater equity and inclusion inside of not just the NYPD, but we have members in the state police both New York and New Jersey. We also have a training program that is taking off.”
“The Journey” doesn’t end here. GOAL says this is the start of a bigger, more expansive piece they plan on working on.