A couple of years ago two visitors came to my office, identifying themselves as FBI agents. Needless to say, my reaction was one of fear, but much to my surprise, the callers were there to find out how we could partner in educating the LGBT community about hate crimes.
That was the beginning of a relationship that has grown into an on-going partnership. I met with another FBI agent today who is visiting partner agencies of the local FBI offices to ensure they are supplying the services we need. Yes indeed, how things have changed.
One local police chief, when asked during a community conversation what had brought about the change of attitude, shared that police officers are now college educated people who have LGBT relatives and friends. Unfair treatment and prejudices against LGBT people are no longer acceptable or tolerated.
Much of this progress is because we came out of our closets. Allowing people to get to know us is the most effective way to change attitudes. And it is something that we can all do.