WATCH: Queensland LGBTIQ police officers open up about their work

queensland police service lgbti officers ben bjarnesen
Photo: Queensland Police Service

The Queensland Police Service has released a new video following the day-to-day work of three QPS officers who are also members of the LGBTIQ community.

The 15-minute “One step better” video builds on the QPS’ 2017 video “It gets better” which shared powerful personal stories of QPS staff coming out as LGBTIQ at work.

The new video reconnects with three participants – Detective Senior Sergeant Sasha Finney, Senior Constable Ben Bjarnesen and Constable Martina Winkworth – and follows them on their day-to-day work.

Sasha leads a team of detectives in the State Crime Command’s Synthetic Drug Operations unit.

Ben patrols the Fortitude Valley precinct while also educating peers on LGBTIQ+ issues, and Martina performs her duties in Deception Bay in the Moreton Bay area.

Senior Constable Bjarnesen said he wants the video to “enhance the public perception of LGBTIQ+ officers and allow the community to see the positive work we do inside and outside the QPS.”

“The video demonstrates how our police come from all different walks of life and how officers with diverse backgrounds positively contribute to the way in which we serve the community,” he said.

IDAHOBIT celebrated around the world today

The QPS has released the new video on the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia (IDAHOBIT) today.

Constable Winkworth said she looked forward to seeing how her presence as an openly trangender woman in the QPS would change people’s perceptions of the force and the trans community.

“I want people to know that it’s okay to be trans and that it shouldn’t be a barrier in doing whatever it is you want to do in your life,” she said.

Senior Sergeant Finney said she hoped the new video would show the community how far the Service had come since she began her career in the late 1980s.

“I chose to participate in this video because I want to help young people and other LGBTI members of the QPS to know that it’s okay to be who you are,” she said.

“I hope by participating in this, I might inspire a few people to consider a career in law enforcement and know that they can do that no matter who they are.”

A spokesperson said that QPS had “transformed” to reflect the broader community that officers served.

“Up until the 1990s, homosexuality was both criminalised and widely condemned throughout most sections of Queensland society,” the spokesperson said.

“In 2018, the Queensland Parliament expunged the criminal records of those convicted under those laws.

“One step better demonstrates the transformation of the QPS over the past 30-years and its commitment to bridge divides and reflect the diversity of the people it protects.”

IDAHOBIT is recognised every year on May 17, the day in 1990 that homosexuality was removed from the World Health Organisation’s International Classification of Diseases.

This year the day has a global theme of “Justice and Protection for All”.

The day aims to raise awareness of LGBTIQ rights, and the discrimination that many LGBTIQ people throughout the world continue to experience.

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