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San Diego's only transgender police officer is prouder than ever this year

Officer Christine Garcia will celebrate San Diego Pride 2016 riding in the parade.
Photo credit:
YouTube - City of San Diego

Christine Garcia is a San Diego Police officer. She puts her life on the line every day to protect the citizens of the city when they are faced with conflict, but there was a time when she had personal conflicts of her own.

The 32-year-old came out as transgender to the force in July of 2015 reports Inside San Diego, it was a time of great anxiety, but her courage saw her through the worst of it.

“I didn’t know if I was going to lose complete respect from them [other officers],” she said. “Because here I was, going from masculine to feminine, in a primarily masculine profession.”

However it appeared that her colleagues were not concerned about her gender, or even her past, they rallied together in support of their fellow officer and made her feel welcomed and safe.

“It was very inspiring for me – you know – I needed that support and it showed me that I could be here,” says Garcia.“They said, ‘you know, you’re a good cop and the only thing that matters is that you’re a good cop. It put me at ease and I was able to see that I can be a cop and I can be transgender, and it’s really okay.”

I recently met with Officer Garcia at a closed meeting with business owners and high ranking police officials just after the Orlando attacks. They were discussing some details about keeping the city safe after the tragedy.

Officer Garcia along with her colleague Sergeant Daniel Meyer, SDPD liaison to the LGBT community, made it clear that they were there for San Diego, especially the LGBT community.

And that seems to be one of the things Garcia is passionate about; helping the LGBT community and their allies feel safe and respected in San Diego.

Before coming out to the department, Garcia would seek the help and support of the San Diego LGBT Community Center (The Center) and she is dedicated to giving back, helping those who, like herself, needed a safe place of inclusion.

“Really, Christine has become a voice for the transgender community,” said Sergeant Meyer, “Often times in the LGBT community, victims are really reluctant to contact police because they’re scared. We’ve done a good job of bridging that gap and working really closely with the LGBT community center.”

Officer Garcia’s story may be unique to San Diego, but there are plenty of other people who may be experiencing the same anxiety and hesitancy she once did in the workplace.

“There’s a transgender member in a professional organization somewhere,” Garcia said. “We’re here, setting this path and example for you to be able to take over these roles.”

Garcia has since found the strength to combat her inner-conflicts, and the lesson that came with it is a message she wants to share. 

“I’m transgender and I’m a police officer,” she said. “You can be anything that you want to be.”