A gay cop has talked about the time he was outed and what happened afterward. It’s one of the latest video stories to be posted to I’m From Driftwood, the unique, online archive of LGBTI voices and experiences.
Mike Crumrine is from San Antonio, Texas. In the mid-90s, Texas still enforced its “homosexual conduct law”, outlawing gay sex. Gay people could, and were, dismissed from their jobs if their employer found out about their sexuality.
Crumrine was in the closet. He had married a woman and they had a daughter together. However, he and his wife had split up, had filed for divorce and, in 1995, were engaged in a legal custody battle over the little girl.
He says his ex-wife and her new, then-husband decided to tell a local media outlet about Crumrine being gay, and it had subsequently run a story about the gay cop fighting for custody of his daughter. Although his close family already knew about his sexuality, he was outed to everyone else.
Crumrine didn’t know how he was going to face the world or how others would react. However, it was a colleague that showed him things wouldn’t be as bad as he may have imagined.
A fellow San Antonio police officer who Crumrine admired and ran calls with sent him a message saying he wanted to meet up for a coffee.
“And I’m thinking, Aw, heck. What is this going to be about?” recalled Crumrine. “Because I’d sat for days and weeks and months with this particular officer who was very right-wing, former military, talked about how women shouldn’t be in the military … And he was anti-gay and certainly very, very right-wing.
“I dreaded going and meeting him because I’d already had so much happen to me, the last thing I wanted was to get kicked one more time.
“So we met local coffee shop. I got out of the car. He’d already been waiting on me and I was about to walk in and he says, ‘Hang on a minute.’ I’m like, ‘Here, it’s going to come.’
“He, all of a sudden, looked at me square in the eye and he said, ‘Mike, I was wrong.’ And I was taken aback.
“And I’m like, ‘What… what do you mean?’
“And he goes, ‘My whole life, in my whole upbringing, I had never thought that people who are gay should ever serve in law enforcement, should serve in the military.’
“And he says, ‘Because I got to know you, because I know who you are – the calls we’ve gone on, the things we’ve done, that changed my perspective. So when all this stuff came out, I knew I had to see you and I knew I had to tell you thanks to you, I’ve changed my perspective. Because I can see value in gay individuals being in law enforcement.”
“He said, ‘Mike, I want you to know I will forever be proud to walk through a door with you.’ That meant so much because prior to this, I had thought my sexuality was a detriment. His words were so empowering to me.”
The encounter was a turning point for Crumrine and he hasn’t looked back since. He subsequently relocated to Austin, Texas, where he says he feels open to be himself. He’s been with his husband for the past 18 years, and he subsequently got custody of his daughter.
“Now I’m the president of the Lesbian Gay Peace Officers Association, which is the first and only Lesbian Gay Peace Officers Association in the state of Texas. We’ve been around for 10 years. I don’t walk around with my sexuality in my sleeve, but I damn sure don’t hide it anymore.”
Hear Crumrine’s story below.