LGBT police group prez: Trump ‘represents none of us’

The president of the Greater Philadelphia Gay Officer Action League took to Facebook this week to publish a nearly 800-word post disagreeing with the city’s police union for endorsing Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.

“GOAL is in the unique position of not only representing various law enforcement agencies, but representing lesbians, gay men, trans* identified officers, non-binary officers, people of color and all the various beliefs, life experiences and situations a police officer can live,” wrote Jo Mason, GOAL president. “It is my personal belief that not only does Trump not represent most of us, but rather? He represents none of us.”

Mason said they wrote the post speaking for themselves and not every member of GOAL.

“To try to get everyone to agree on one thing politically is nearly impossible,” they said. “We can’t all agree sometimes on where we want to get a beer or go out to eat after work.”

But Mason said they talked to GOAL before making a statement and, while members support various political parties, the majority of them agreed with Mason’s post.

They also heard from the Guardian Civic League, an organization for black police officers in Philadelphia, and SALEA, an organization for Latino officers in the city, which similarly did not feel supported by Trump. More than 50 percent of the force in Philadelphia comes from a minority background, Mason said.

Speaking to CBS News Sept. 19, John McNesby, president of the Philadelphia police union, said the campaign for Democrat Hillary Clinton refused to participate in the endorsement process.

“She just disregarded and blew the police off,” McNesby said. “We put out a questionnaire and she absolutely refused … outright refused, with a nasty campaign rebuttal to why she wouldn’t … We went in and we participated with the candidate that cooperated. He filled it out. We met with him.”

Mason’s post said they respected McNesby and the entire board of the local police union, Lodge 5. They told PGN that McNesby was the first to pledge money and support a safe space for the GOAL chapter that started here last year. Mason talked with McNesby about the Trump endorsement.

“I don’t fault John for the decision he made,” Mason said. “He fell in line with the national organization. He’s thinking of the officers he represents.”

The national union endorsed Trump Sept. 16 and the Philadelphia union quickly followed suit. 

“Hopefully come November it’ll be a moot point,” they added, “and we won’t have to worry about Donald Trump in the White House.”

The Facebook post on Greater Philly GOAL’s page concluded with input from Dante Austin, a member of GOAL who was a driving force behind making a public statement. He said he couldn’t support the anti-LGBT positions of Mike Pence, Trump’s running mate, or Trump’s racist remarks.

“The LGBT community and people of color need to know, all officers in Philadelphia don’t agree with this,” he told PGN.

“I absolutely, 100 percent, without a doubt appreciate everything the [Fraternal Order of Police] does for me. However, [McNesby’s] interest is what happens to me from 9 to 5. But as I’ve said before, what happens when I take that badge off? In reality, I’m worried about me all the time. When I put on my uniform, my gayness and my blackness don’t disappear.”