Officer Friendly says It Gets Better

Our assimilation into the violence of the system is now complete: the San Francisco Police Department has made an It Gets Better video.

I am encountering a lot of people who think this is sweet and charming, but to me this is creepy. The traditional relationship between the cops and the larger gay community is anything but warm and fuzzy (to say nothing of how trans folks are typically treated). This is true in San Francisco as in other places. I do not expect an It Gets Better video to address the actions of the SFPD around the trial of Dan White after he murdered Harvey Milk and George Moscone, but to completely elide the long history of anti-gay police harassment and violence especially for young queer kids who may be facing homelessness seems disingenuous to the point of danger.

In my lifetime it has become much safer for gays to interact with cops, but this has occurred along predictable lines of race, gender, and class privilege. White gay men who are typically masculine and own property are much more likely to have positive interactions with police officers than homeless teens, teens of color or anyone who is gender nonconforming. Kids are often seen as delinquent if they don’t want to go home to their parents, no matter what the parents are like.

If the police really want us to believe that they have our best interests at heart, perhaps they should recognize the complexity of our situations and begin dialogue about the ways that law enforcement fails to serve queer youth and especially queer youth who are also marginalized in other ways.


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