Hundreds of people packed TCU place Tuesday morning for the Saskatoon Police Service’s Diversity Breakfast.
Around 200 people attended the event to mark International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Const. Lindsay Lavallee, a five-year Saskatoon police veteran, spoke at the gathering, giving her account of what it’s been like as an openly gay officer.
Lavallee said her professional life has been a contrast to her upbringing. Raised in a strict Catholic family, she said she realized she was gay in high school.
“(I) couldn’t even fathom the idea of being openly gay. There were no openly gay students or teachers. It just wasn’t an option,” Lavallee said.
The constable noted, however, her life as a Saskatoon cop has been far different.
“I never felt I was treated any differently, or welcomed into that family any less,” she said.
Lavallee told media after her speech she has had to overcome the impulse to keep quiet.
“Now that I have kids too, (I’m) just really living out and proud of who I am. So that my kids can also be proud of their family and where they come from,” she said.
Although Lavallee said her experience has been positive, she said she still hopes to see more progress within the Saskatoon Police Service.
“I do think there’s still a ways to push forward. I’d love to see an openly gay male in our police force,” she said.
Speaking after the breakfast, Saskatoon police Chief Clive Weighill said policing culture has changed dramatically over the course of his career.
He said he believes it’s only a matter of time before an openly gay man serves as an officer in the city.
– With files from 650 CKOM’s Brent Bosker.