About eight years ago, Richard “Scott” Gunn, a detective with a local county police department in Maryland he says he’s not permitted to name, recognized a need for an LGBT component to National Police Week, an event President Kennedy proclaimed in 1962 in which officers killed in the line of duty are memorialized.
LGBT Police Week (lgbtpoliceweek.org) has become a kind of parallel event in the last several years with its own spate of activities from social dinners and happy hours to a memorial service slated for Monday at noon in Dupont Circle where officers will honor Master Cpl. Sandy Rogers, a 28-year veteran police officer from South Carolina who was killed in the line of duty in January 2012. Her partner, also a cop, was barred from memorial events in their town, Gunn says, so he hopes Monday’s event will help “give her partner the support she needs right now.”
“We kind of started this on our own,” he says. “It’s kind of a homophobic arena to begin with and we saw the need for LGBT officers to come together with other LGBT officers.”
Gunn, who was outed on the force by his ex-wife during a nasty breakup about 15 years ago, guesses “less than a fifth” of LGBT officers, in his experience, are out on the job.
It’s also a big week for Gunn aside from Police Week — he and his partner of two years, Nicholas “Charger” Stone, plan to get married on Monday, the anniversary of the date they met.
Gunn, a 45-year-old Glen Burnie, Md., native, lives in Hyattsville, Md., with Stone and their dogs. He enjoys riding motorcycles and “curling up with Charger and the dogs to watch a movie” in his free time.
How long have you been out and who was the hardest person to tell?
I have been out for 15 years and I really did not have to tell anyone. I was outed to my parents, my sisters and to my job by my ex.
Who’s your LGBT hero?
Matthew and Judy Shepard. The amount of work that Judy Shepard has put into the LGBT community on behalf of her son Matthew is incredible.
What’s Washington’s best nightspot, past or present?
I may be a little partial, but Town Danceboutique for Bear Happy Hour is the best D.C. nightspot.
Describe your dream wedding.
We will be having our dream wedding this year. Charger and I met because of National Police Week. I had set an information table up for my LGBT Police Week events during Bear Happy Hour. That chance meeting led to an amazing relationship. He proposed during Bear Happy Hour by using a fantastic video presentation and by having a dance troupe perform a number to our song. I knew at that point that our wedding had to take place at Town, which has been such a wonderful part of our lives and it was only fitting to have our ceremony and reception there. We will be converting Town into our dream reception later this year.
What non-LGBT issue are you most passionate about?
Animal rescue. Up until the last three weeks, Charger and I had four rescue dogs, three Great Danes and my retired K-9 Shepherd. Unfortunately three weeks ago we lost our oldest Great Dane, Angel, and just yesterday we had to make the horrible decision to put my German Shepherd, Misty, to sleep because of an issue with her heart.
What historical outcome would you change?
What’s been the most memorable pop culture moment of your lifetime?
Probably no pop culture moment, but I will never forget this past election when the voters of Maryland passed gay marriage and Obama was reelected. One of the most emotional moments of my life.
On what do you insist?
Equal respect for all of our LGBT heroes who have lost their lives protecting others around them. So many times the families, (partners, significant others, etc) are left out of all memorial services.
What was your last Facebook post or Tweet?
My last Facebook post was actually a picture of Misty, my Shepherd, and it said, “Heartbroken again … we had to say goodbye to our baby girl … k9 Misty was my partner for several years and one of the best drug dogs ever … I will never forget her.”
If your life were a book, what would the title be?
“Dogs on a Sofa”
If science discovered a way to change sexual orientation, what would you do?
Nothing at all.
What do you believe in beyond the physical world?
Not sure — could just be “lights out,” though part of me wants to believe there’s a reunion of some fashion.
What’s your advice for LGBT movement leaders?
Keep moving in the right direction. We have gained a lot in the last couple years and we need to keep the momentum going.
What would you walk across hot coals for?
To get to Charger and to save my animals.
What LGBT stereotype annoys you most?
That gay men are pedophiles.
What’s your favorite LGBT movie?
“Priscilla Queen of the Desert”
What’s the most overrated social custom?
What trophy or prize do you most covet?
I have received a couple trophies from my peers for everything that I do for LGBT Police Week. Anytime your peers recognize you for work you do for them, it’s special.
What do you wish you’d known at 18?
That I was gay — actually believing it and not just thinking that it might be the case.
A lot of what Charger and I do revolves around the LGBT community. From running Bear Happy Hour, running other bear events, raising funds for D.C. charities and hosting events for LGBT police officers during National Police Week (lgbtpoliceweek.org), Washington is the place we need to be.