For Toronto Police Const. Myles Glazier, the service’s first openly transgender member, he says putting on his uniform every morning is nothing short of a dream come true.
“The first few months have been amazing,” Glazier told Global News on Tuesday while smiling.
But for someone who once wanted to hide who he was, he said reaching his career goal didn’t always seem possible.
“My depression and anxiety was through the roof,” he said, remembering when he wasn’t sure how to handle what he was feeling.
Assigned female at birth, the 26-year-old said he didn’t feel comfortable in his own body, grappling with his gender identity.
“I struggled a long time to repress it,” he said.
At 18, he applied for a policing job in his hometown of Orangeville, but without his mental health in check he said he was turned away.
Worried Glazier would never be able to pursue his passion for policing, he said he sought help.
“For me it was a therapist. You need support — it’s all about support,” he explained.
That self-care turned into self-love, and eight years later Glazier’s acceptance of himself seemingly paid off.
In late 2018, his application was accepted by the Toronto Police Service. In October, Glazier became an officer and was assigned to work out of 23 Division near Kipling Avenue and Finch Avenue West.
“I picked Toronto because of it’s diversity,” Glazier explained.
“About a month in, it got out (that I was trans) and I have gotten a lot of support … overall it has been a positive experience.”
Danielle Bottineau, a LGBTQ2 liaison officer with the Toronto Police Service, said she was thrilled to hear about Glazier’s experience.
“People should be able to be who they want to be,” she told Global News.
Historically, Toronto police — like many services around the world — have had a strained relationship with the LGBTQ2 community.
In 2017, it came to a head when uniformed officers were banned from Toronto’s pride parade following allegations the force was not taking concerns of a serial killer seriously. In 2019, Bruce McArthur was convicted on eight counts of first-degree murder after eight men were killed.
“We have had our ups and downs, don’t get me wrong, but I am happy in the direction we are going,” Bottineau said.
For Glazier, he said that direction is forward.
“(My hire) says a lot things are changing times are changing … you can be who you want to be,” he explained, adding he hopes other trans youth will hear his story while encouraging others to be open about who and what that is.
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