Serving with Pride

West Shore, This Is Who We Are

2020-06-25 07:21 PDT

The month of June is recognized and celebrated around the world as Pride Month. It is a time where we reflect on the struggles and the contributions of the LGBTQAI2S+ community. The West Shore RCMP reached out to our officers from this community to help us celebrate and share their knowledge.

Video: The video below is of Cst. Russell Olsen who is a member of the West Shore RCMP. Cst. Olsen speaks about his personal experience as being a proud gay Canadian police officer. In the video Cst. Olsen is wearing a RCMP shoulder patch in the Pride rainbow colors that was gifted to him by Inspector Todd Preston, Officer in Charge of West Shore RCMP.

Transcription The video is of Cst. Russell Olsen who is a member of the Wets Shore RCMP. Cst. OLSEN speaks about his personal experience as being a proud gay Canadian police officer. In the video Cst. Olsen is wearing a RCMP shoulder patch in the Pride rainbow colors that was gifted to him by Inspector Todd Preston, Officer in Charge of Wets Shore RCMP.

My name is Constable Rusty Olson. I am a 10 year member here with the Royal Canadian mounted police and I am stationed in West Shore, British Columbia.

Pride is a time of the year where I get to reflect on the past history being a proud gay Canadian member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. I’ve come off of a legacy of people before me through the 50’s, 60’s, 70’s, and into the 80’s, where my sexuality was a limiting factor to me being able to have a job as a police officer with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. So based on the history, on the shoulders that members before me have paved the way, I feel really proud of the fact that at this point in the year 2020 I’m able to have an occupation like being a police officer with the RCMP. That I represent a portion of the population that is out there that is LGBT. As it stands now, being a member of the RCMP, I moved into a profession that is supportive and that supports me through the process of being out proud gay member if the organization and that I’m able to tell my story and have a seat at the table.

So moving forward with pride month I not only reflect but I also celebrate. I celebrate with my friends, my family and coworkers in the fact that I do have the right to marry and the rights to move forward and be a proud, productive member of society.

So how being a member of the LGBT community has helped me in my job is the fact that I feel I’m able to bring my sensibilities and compassion, my understanding of LGBT issues. Being a member of the community myself in a first hand and realistic way I have a first-hand knowledge of what people are going through and what some of the struggles are, because I myself have gone through some of those struggles. It allows me to identify, in a basically charismatic and nurturing way, identify some of these concerns.

What it means to be an ally is to be a supportive friend. To listen to ask questions to be non-judge mental and to support that person or that member through that conversation and to have that open dialogue.

I think when I would like to share with the community and I think it’s something that’s going on within all of Canada right now is that we are all valuable and worthy of a place at the table. I think having a diverse background only strengthens Canada and to be able to come in and be authentic to who you are it makes us better neighbours, better friends, and better Canadians.


We sat down with another West Shore RCMP officer who is also apart of the LGBTQAI2S+ community and learned about her experiences.


Photo of Cst. Heather Melvin:
 

Question: Tell us who you are?

Answer: My name is Cst. Heather Melvin. I have been a member of the RCMP for 12 years. All of my service has been in BC.

Question: What does Pride mean to you?

Answer: Pride to me, is the celebration of authenticity and the freedom to be my true self without discrimination.

Question: How does being a member of the LGBTQAI2S+ community help you in your job?

Answer: I can be a resource and an ally to the community, by providing diversity, acceptance and awareness in my workplace.

Question: What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about coming out or who has faced discrimination as a member of the LGBTQAI2S+ community?

Answer: Coming out to loved ones can be difficult. Seek support and only do it when you feel ready. Those who have been discriminated against, focus on your strengths, core values and beliefs. Remind yourself of your worth and don't buy into the comments.

Question: Please feel free to create a message that you want to share.

Learning to love yourself for who you are is one of the most difficult and rewarding aspects of life.
So, love yourself. 
 

Released by

Cst. Nancy Saggar

Media Relations Officer
West Shore RCMP
698 Atkins Avenue, Victoria, BC V9B 3A4
Office: 250-474-2264
Fax: 250-474-8790

Email: westshore_media@rcmp-grc.gc.ca

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