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Moana Parsons(March 2011)

In this podcast Moana Parsons from New Zealand talks about being a police diversity liaison officer.

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In the podcast recorded on March 16, 2011, at Wellington Town Hall, Moana Parsons shared their experience as a police diversity liaison officer in New Zealand. The recording captures their journey to joining the police force at 23 years old, driven by a strong, life-long ambition to do so. Despite facing inappropriate questions during recruitment about their commitment to service due to potential pregnancy and sexual orientation, Moana remained steadfast in their goal to pursue their childhood dream.

Moana's early days in the police force were marked by an imbalance between male and female officers, which shaped the organization's culture and presented challenges for women to work as they desired. Nevertheless, Moana saw progress over the years, particularly in the representation of women in the police force, rising to the rank of sergeant with a more gender-balanced team.

Addressing the visibility of LGBTQ+ personnel within the force, Moana indicated that while there were openly gay officers, the environment appeared more accepting for lesbian women than for gay men. Moana suggested that the male-dominated nature of policing and societal homophobia made it tougher for gay men to be open about their sexuality within the organization.

Homophobia within the police force, according to Moana, was still present in the form of derogatory language and banter, common across broader society. As a diversity liaison officer (DLO), one of Moana's responsibilities was to challenge such behaviors, though they acknowledged the limitation of being just one person within a larger culture.

Moana provided insight into the complex dynamic of carrying out police duties in places significant to the LGBTQ+ community, like beats, where public sex may occur. Educating colleagues on handling those situations sensitively to avoid exacerbating prejudices and engaging in discriminatory practices was a role Moana found important.

Explaining the nature of their role, Moana outlined the DLO's purpose: to serve as a safe contact within the police for LGBTQ+ community members needing assistance and to provide diversity training within the force. These educational efforts aimed to promote better understanding and inclusivity for LGBTQ+ issues among police personnel. Moana described this part of their work as a positive aspect of their career, providing a meaningful impact for their community.

Despite their successes, Moana hoped for a future where positions like theirs would not be necessary, where awareness and acceptance of diversity were ingrained in all officers. They envisioned that in 30 years, their legacy would be reflected in an evolved police force where LGBTQ+ concerns were inherently understood and accommodated.

This summary is created using Generative AI. Although it is based on the recording's transcription, it may contain errors or omissions. Click here to learn more about how this summary was created.

Record date:16th March 2011
Interviewer:Gareth Watkins
Location:Wellington Town Hall, Wellington
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Archive:The master recording is archived at the Alexander Turnbull Library (OHDL-004178).