Barrie Police Staff Sgt. Linda Moorhouse says she wasn’t initially part of the community.
By community, she means 2SLGBTQ+.
Moorhouse started her career with the Barrie Police Service (BPS) in 1994, and she has been nominated for the Serving with Pride 2SLGBTQ+ Visibility Award.
“It’s an honour to be nominated for this. It’s a provincial award, so there are a lot of other candidates,” says Moorhouse. “But what it speaks to is my involvement with different communities who might not be quite as visible or get as much attention as they may need, particularly the 2SLGBTQ+ community. You know, reaching out and validating people, and making them feel safe, listened to, and understood.”
The award is presented every year to a corrections officer, Ontario police officer, or other law enforcement or criminal justice official, uniformed or civilian who are “out” and identify as 2SLGBTQ+.
Moorhouse got involved in the Gilbert Centre, a Barrie-based LGBTQ and HIV support group, to use their expertise to do diversity and training at the police service.
“There was a pre-survey with our service to determine what our specific needs would be in terms of training. To this day when we get new employees, they go through the training process for diversity and inclusion.”
When asked about the relationship between the BPS and the 2SLGBTQ+ community, Moorhouse is quick to point out that rather than a relationship, she refers to it as a partnership.
“One of the things that I am really proud of is the fact we get invited to march in the Barrie Pride Parade. That’s not something that occurs with every police service in this province,” she notes. “That speaks to the commitment we have shown to the community and their understanding of where we’re coming from and what we are trying to do.”
But Moorhouse says it is always important to keep the conversation going.
“We just have to continue to show that we are committed to this partnership, a partnership to ensure both communities understand each other, and we work towards a society where we don’t have to label people and don’t have to put people in categories.”
Not initially part of the 2SLGBTQ+ community has given what Moorhouse believes is a unique perspective from both sides of the fence. She says at the time it wasn’t certainly easy or comfortable. Moorhouse believes there is much more acceptance today, but that doesn’t mean the work is done.
Moorhouse will be part of the awards gala on Saturday, Oct. 16.