Sergeant Daniel Meyer and Christine Garcia will receive award for their community activism.
The Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast will celebrate its ninth anniversary on Friday, May 19. And this year it will honor two of San Diego’s law enforcement individuals who have tried to bridge gaps between the police department and the LGBT community.
Transgender officer Christine Garcia and LGBT liaison Daniel Myers will receive the Harvey Milk Activist Award at the event; both members of the community who have seen some challenges in bringing the two organizations together.
In 2004, Daniel Meyer became a member of San Diego’s finest after working for the Sheriff’s Department as a dispatcher. After 12 years on patrol overseeing three of San Diego’s biggest commands.
He was promoted to Police Sergeant in 2013, and continues to be the community’s LGBT liaison while still heading his duties at the Early Identification and Intervention Unit (EIIS), which helps identify employees within the department who need help in both their personal and professional lives.
Sgt. Meyer is a native San Diegan who continues to lead despite some backlash he has experienced just by wearing a uniform.
In 2014, Meyers was invited to the “Create Change” event in Denver to lead a workshop, however a protest erupted and it was subsequently shut down.
Today Sgt. Meyer hold strong and remains committed to keeping the LGBT community safe, and educated in an effort to forge a better understanding along with his liaison partner Officer Christine Garcia.
Meyer tells San Diego Gay and Lesbian News that he is both humbled and honored to receive the Harvey Milk activist award
"Harvey Milk was a great person who served his community with integrity, pride and selflessness," he said. "The LGBT community and every other community in San Diego has and deserves a law enforcement organization who respects everyone's differences and fights for the safety and acceptance of all, just as Harvey Milk did. This award recognizes the work being done not just by the LGBT Liaisons, but instead the San Diego Police Department and its leadership as a whole. I will continue to serve our communities and the amazing people who make up our city without hesitation. We are all in this together and we must unite and support one another to ensure a bright and inclusive future."
Officer Garcia is the very first out transgender San Diego police force team member. But the road wasn’t an easy one and this award is something that she says holds with high esteem.
“I am truly honored to accept the Harvey Milk Activist Award," she told San Diego Gay and Lesbian News. "When I came out as Transgender in July of 2015, I never thought this would have been possible. I have thrived due to the support and love that I have around me. It is my community, my job, my wife, family and friends I have to thank. The overwhelming amount of love and acceptance has helped me along the way."
After eight years on the police force, she transitioned and many were surprised at the support she received from her job, and it is this sort of validation she wishes to instill within the LGBT community.
"I am only one voice in this community," she adds. "But I knew early on that I could have a unique voice and truly make a difference in how we are viewed and treated as transgender people. I will continue to proudly serve my community here in San Diego. This community and the San Diego Police Department, can continue to serve as an example for the rest of the world."
Like Sergeant Meyer, Officer Garcia also helps the LGBT civilian community. Often times meeting with people at the San Diego LGBT Community Center (The Center).
However, like Meyer, she has received some resistance among her own community because she wear a police officer’s uniform.
Earlier this month, attending an awards ceremony at The Center, some radical trans activists, verbally disrupted the show by calling her a derogatory name.
However, despite these criticisms both Garcia and Meyer carry on. They are committed to changing not only the San Diego Police Department's comradery with the LGBT community, but hope that they can lead the rest of the country by example. .
"An example of how well the police and a community can work together to achieve a common goal of human rights," said Officer Garcia.
The 2017 Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast will be held on Friday, May 19, at the Hilton San Diego Bayfront Hotel. Proceeds benefit the social services programs of the San Diego LGBT Community Center. For more information, find us on Facebook at Harvey Milk Diversity Breakfast.