Copyright © 2008 -2018 TCOPS - Transgender Community of Police & Sheriffs.   All Rights Reserved.
by Dr. Thomas Whetstone, as part of a study which the good doctor was conducting, relating to transsexuals in law
enforcement. Then, there were a scant few officers involved and few of us knew of, or were acquainted with the others.
There had been attempts to organize before with TOPS (Transgender Officers Protect & Serve); the group founded by Tony
Dr. Whetstone revived interest in cops talking with other cops, about their lives, their jobs, their experiences, and their
families. I took that idea a step farther, by setting up this Yahoo Discussion Group, on Halloween of 2002. I dubbed it T-
COPS, because the acronym at the time fit the make up of our membership. Over the past six years, the group and its
membership have grown. We have incorporated parole and probation officers, federal agents, community service officers,
forensic professionals and technicians, college and campus police, federal police, parks police and rangers and
communications dispatchers. These positions were added because we all deal with the same organizational problems in
employment within the law enforcement environment.

We began the first discussion group with some 10-15 members, who were from the US, the UK, and Canada. I had no idea,
that six years later, that we would have a Yahoo Group membership of (120) people, let alone the other (710) people that
have contacted me, that were not interested or afraid to be involved in the discussion group. AS time passed, we found
members in Canada, Australia and New Zealand. To be honest, I never thought that there would be so many Trans-Folk in
Law Enforcement. we "ALL" thought that we were the only ones! Officers from the former Soviet Union, Spain, Portugal,
France, China, Japan, Cuba, and Ireland have contacted TCOPS for information and assistance.

From our humble beginnings, we have grown stronger and have experienced many positive outcomes in on-the-job
transitions. We have had our set backs and negative issues with agencies, as well. I would like to see a day when gender
transition is not frowned upon, discouraged, or opposed in our employment. We have a right to determine our own sense of
gender and gender identity; a right to self-determination. No one should criticize our personal decisions or deter our course
of action, when coming to deeply felt conclusions about this very basic perception of who we are.

My vision for this group is to take a step in another direction, and reach out to our peers and to law enforcement agencies,
dealing with the challenge of a transgender employee transitioning in the workplace. I have attempted to open discussions
about these ideas and I see this as a perfect time to implement the ideas which can help transgendered cops in coping
with their own crises, and to provide police executives with guidance and resources, to effectively assist officers wishing to
transition, to re-enter the workplace in their newly minted gender.

To accomplish these tasks, it will take money and your participation. I believe that we can seek funding in the form of grants
as a non-profit organization. At this point, the monies would be utilized to set up and facilitate the concepts of the Crisis
Response Team; and a Transition Team. More about those ideas, shortly.

The Crisis Response Team would be utilized to respond to members in crisis. ;Many of us have seen or experienced
suicide as a consequence of persons suffering from GID and the toll that it takes on us as individuals, upon our families
and friends and co-workers. The types of situations which I envision this team being used would include:

  • Response to members in crisis (communication and/ physical contact)
  • Response to MIA members (communication and/ physical contact)
  • Providing assistance and direction to resources for families and the member or employee.
  • Support Network building and support

The way that people see us is important. When people in gender transition are at a low stage in life, their own perceptions
may mislead them. Self- esteem can be so low as to allow the person to entertain the possibility of suicide. I have been
there and I know this overwhelming feeling of despair. My hope is that this team will help someone come to grips with their
life, their decisions, and the ramifications implied for themselves, their families and their employers. I see this as key to the
survival of this group, if it is to be seen as anything more than a social club or discussion group.

At the same time, another aspect of survival is the ability of our transitioning members to be gainfully employed and earn a
living wage. Many of the membership have transitioned after they have retired or left law enforcement for civilian
employment, mostly out of fear of losing their jobs. In this day and age, I do not believe that this is fair or just! Speaking from
the experience that I have had with the members of this group, I have found that "we" are generally "very" qualified at our
positions, and pre-disclosure, are considered by our peers and by our supervisors as very capable law enforcement officers.

I believe that the key to helping our membership and our peers, is to make sure that they continue to be employed. Their
transitions may be made easier with the participation and assistance of a "Transition Team," that could respond to the
questions and inquiries of law enforcement managers and members coping with a co-worker coming to grips with GID.

I would like to see this group available for various aspects of employee transition in the workplace, to include:

  • Assisting the employee with a plan of action for their transition
  • Assisting the employee in their disclosure to their employer
  • Providing resource information in the form of guidelines, model transitions, and other law enforcement managers
    who have been successful in the transition of their employee(s)
  • Providing reference and educational material to employers and co-workers
  • Providing presentations to law enforcement Executive staff and also to employee groups

Making this all happen is going to be a struggle, at the on-set. I do, however, have faith that there are organizations and
individuals that will help us in our efforts. The Grant Team will assist the group by seeking out, applying for and
administering funding. Efforts of the "Grant Team" will include:

  • Locating, identifying, and requesting grants from various sources; public and private
  • Administering the grants and allocating funding for the target projects
  • Coordination with the Board, regarding budgeting of projects
  • Accounting of monies utilized for specific projects

Law Enforcement officers are focal points of any community. We are role models to some and a figure of authority to others.
When an officer, sheriff, or agent, transitions at work they are plainly visible to the public and thus, encourage acceptance
and tolerance. These perceptions and challenges reflect how we are perceived by our communities. The way our peers and
supervisors treat us, is seen and mimicked by the people that we serve. When we are treated with respect and dignity by our
peers, the public also treats us this way, and thus what is good for "us" is also beneficial to the rest of the trans-community.

I would like to see TCOPS take a more public role with respect to the equal rights treatment of our members within
employment and law. We deserve continued employment and have the right not to be fired or harassed, as a consequence
of our gender identity issues. Some of the ways that this can be effected is through self awareness of the issues that each
of us face on the job in dealing with out transition and also through education of our agency executives and co-workers. I
feel that the direction, which we should be taking, is one of education and action to help ourselves from within and also help
our employers and peers, better understand that we should continue to be valued employees.

This group has indeed come a long way. My hope is to make it easier on those that come after us and hopefully someday
the need for this group will no longer exist!


Julie Marin, Executive Director Founder
Transgender Community of Police and Sheriffs (T-COPS)
(revised 2/2/2008)