Gay Corrections Officer Will March in Uniform in WeHo Pride
It took less than 24 hours after going public with his story for California Department of Corrections (CDCR) Officer Andrew Johnson to have a key decision made for him reversed. Johnson had requested permission to march in Sunday's West Hollywood Gay Pride parade in his uniform, but was denied. After filing a charge of discrimination based on sexual orientation against the CDCR, Johnson has been granted permission to take part in the event, in uniform.
Johnson, a member of the Gay Peace Officers Association, has worked at the California Institution for Women in Chino since 2006, according to NBC Los Angeles. He made his request in writing in May, and was turned down, also in writing, by Warden Guillermo G. Garcia, who wrote that by participating in the parade in uniform, Johnson would be in violation of the CDCR's employee policies regarding wearing a uniform and engaging in "inappropriate" activities or potentially bringing "discredit" to the force.
Organizers of the 41st annual West Hollywood Pride Parade issued their reaction to Johnson's predicament:
"Officer Johnson is courageously risking his future by asking to participate in a parade with his fellow peace officers," said Rodney Scott, Christopher Street West Board President. "Like our 2011 Community Grand Marshal, LGBT Servicemembers who are still not allowed to serve openly in the U.S. Armed Forces, Officer Johnson was told that being in the parade in uniform would bring discredit to the department."
Tuesday, Johnson came forward with his attorney, Gloria Allred, and announced he was filing a complaint against the CDCR.
The CDCR replied via a statement, saying they "did not intend to offend any segment of the population." They acknowledge the language in their employee policy could use revision.