LGBTQ cops in Central Florida are ready to talk GOALs

By : Amanda Espinosa
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ABOVE: GOALcfl’s founding board members. (Photo courtesy GOALcfl.com)

ORLANDO | The Gay Officer Action League (GOAL), a fraternal civil rights organization providing a safe place for active and retired LGBTQ law enforcement officers, got its start in New York in 1982.

Since then GOAL has opened several other chapters in the U.S. with the most recent one kicking off in Orlando on Jan. 26. GOALcfl, as it is called for short, is now one of four chapters that branched from the original GOALnyc.

“Our mission is basically the same as the one in New York, which is to support, educate and provide a positive relationship between LGBTQ law enforcement and the community,” says Orlando PD Sgt. Grace Peek-Harris, who is also the president of GOALcfl along with being the LGBTQ liaison for OPD.

The GOALcfl founding board members are Grace Peek-Harris as president, Brandon Ragan as vice president, Scott Zane as treasurer, Alison Clarke as corresponding secretary, Elie Peek-Harris as recording secretary, Mara Everson as sergeant-at-arms and Vivian Rodriguez as executive director.

GOALcfl currently has 40 members enlisted, a number Grace Peek-Harris plans to see climb into the hundreds over time, and you don’t have to be LGBTQ in order to be a member.

“Just because you’re in the organization, doesn’t mean you’re gay and just because you aren’t gay, doesn’t mean you can’t be in the organization,” Grace Peek-Harris says. “It only means that you support law enforcement and you support the LGBTQ community.”

GOALcfl offers two types of memberships: A professional membership is open to any active or retired LGBTQ law enforcement officers. Membership fee is $30 for a year. An associate membership is offered for members of the community who support local law enforcement and the mission of GOALcfl. Membership fee is $15 for a year.

Membership benefits for both types include open attendance to all meetings and events, along with discounts to GOAL events. Professional membership benefits also include voting privileges in executive board elections.

Member meetings are held monthly with February’s meeting being a membership drive. The event will be held at Savoy in Orlando Feb. 8 from 6-8 p.m. March and April’s membership meetings, which are for due-paying members only, will be held at The LGBT+ Central of Central Florida in Orlando on March 13 and April 17, respectively.

April’s meeting will focus on the topic of LGBTQ+ Cultural Competency Training and will be conducted in partnership with Zebra Coalition.

“We want everyone just to know that we’re here,” Grace Peek-Harris says, “and I believe that they’re going to see a lot of us in the future.”

For more information, visit GOALcfl.com or stop by the February meeting to apply for membership.

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