Matt Pulle, a reporter with the Nashville Scene, recently profiled a person who may be the victim of an undercover Metro Police operation that targeted drug use among gay men in online gay-identified chat rooms.
The article raises many questions with few answers. Are the Metro Police unfairly targeting gay men? Is homophobia widespread within the Metro Police Department, or is this an isolated case? Are drugs so widespread within the gay community that it requires an undercover police operation to curtail? And if so, what as a community should be our response? What do we as a community need to do if we indeed have such a widespread drug problem?
At press time we had no answers to any of these questions. Officials with the Metro Police Department had not been able to respond to our questions. However we urge an open dialogue between the Metro Police and the gay community. We can’t condone or support the specific targeting of the gay community. At the same time, police shouldn’t be deterred from detecting and addressing unlawful activity among us.
The Tennessee Equality Project has opened a dialogue with the Metro Police Department. We ask that the community be patient while these conversations are taking place. We need and want a good relationship with Nashville ’s police officers. Remember, many of those who serve are also members of the GLBT community. And it hasn’t been that long ago that Chief Ronal Serpas spoke to the Nashville Association of Professional Persons ( Nashville ’s GLBT Chamber of Commerce) and assured them that he was supportive of the GLBT community and its needs. We hope so, and we hope his actions back up his words.