|Lieutenant James Tracy (click image to enlarge)|
For Pride Month, NBC Out is putting the spotlight on 30 individuals who are bringing positive awareness to and for our LGBTQ community not only through their actions but living by example.
The series is called #Pride30.
So, meet Lt. James Tracy of the Englewood Cliffs Police Department in New Jersey.
Yes, let’s stop and take in the photo and all. It’s pretty fab.
Now, aside from the biceps and chest on display (when you got a Porsche, you don’t keep it in the garage), Officer Tracy has been instrumental in bringing LGBTQ inclusivity to police departments all across Bergen County in the Garden State.
From NBC Out:
Tracy, 40, helped to initiate the Bergen County Police Academy’s very first LGBTQ bias training program in 2016. Now, the New Jersey native is working to expand this program throughout the whole state.
Last June, during LGBTQ Pride Month, Tracy started an initiative where every officer in his department wore “rainbow pride bracelets.” The program was intended to show the town’s LGBTQ community that their police officers are dedicated to inclusion and are supportive of everyone’s rights. The program also initiated a dialogue between officers and numerous residents who asked questions about the bracelets and how they could get one for themselves.
In addition to LGBTQ equality, Tracy has also been dedicated to engaging with youth and training the next generation of law enforcement officers. Tracy is the co-founder and leader of the Junior Police Academy, which is held annually in Englewood Cliffs. It’s a weeklong summer program that trains young people who may want to pursue a career in law enforcement. The program is now in its 14th year.
In true Pride Month fashion, the 40-year-old police veteran shares that he was ‘in the closet’ for the first 10 years of his career as a police officer.
Acknowledging he worked with great professionals in the police department, he was still wary of telling his co-workers the truth about his sexual orientation for fear that they would not accept him.
Eventually, the weight of his personal truth became too much to carry and he slowly began to share with his co-workers.
“The relief that I experienced after coming out can’t be described with words; it was just this enormous weight off my shoulders,” says Tracy. “After experiencing that, I wanted to help other gay officers who may be dealing with the same struggles. Ten years of hiding who I am was much too long; life is too short to hide anything about yourself.”
Because of his personal experience, Tracy helped to initiate the Bergen County Police Academy’s very first LGBTQ bias training program in 2016. And now the native New Jerseyan is moving to share that program throughout New Jersey.
Tracy says he finds “do’s” and “don’t” in bias training shuts down interaction due to fear of saying or doing the wrong thing.
“If you train people from a diversity and inclusion perspective, you don’t need to spend a lot of time on ‘don’t do this’ and ‘don’t do that.’ The LGBTQ population is the only demographic that crosses into every race, ethnicity and religion. Essentially, we are a minority within a minority, and if agencies are not providing bias training on LGBTQ issues, they are missing a huge minority segment.”
NBC Out closes it’s profile of the handsome officer by asking what pride means to him. His answer is spot on.
“Pride to me is about being proud of yourself, accepting yourself, and everything about yourself — regardless of what other people think.”
I couldn’t agree more.
Make sure you follow NBC Out’s series #Pride30 which includes Tracy, Parkland shooting survivor Emma Gonzalez, trans Virginia lawmaker Danica Roem, Hollywood producer Greg Berlanti, and a whole bunch of way impressive/inspiring LGBT folks you should know.
One more thing: I’m gonna say normally I resize photos for The Randy Report so the images fit my blog.
In this case, however, I couldn’t bring myself to deprive you of the full-size awesomeness that is Lt. James Tracy.
So click the image to enlarge the pic above.