Andrew Johnson is a regular out-and-proud guy who just wanted to participate in the West Hollywood Pride parade this weekend -- in his correctional officier uniform. Not so harmful right?
Wrong. He did all the right things and requested permission from his superiors, yet he was declined with the explanation that wearing his uniform would bring disrepute to his department. Um -- anyone in a uniform, marching and proudly displaying their pride is all right by us! So with the help of his fab lawyer Gloria Allred, Johnson got down and dirty and filed a lawsuit against the State of California for discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. You go, girl(s)!
And they had success! Just hours after filing the lawsuit the State Board of Corrections folded and is allowing Johnson to walk in this weekend's pride parade. (Why not just say yes in the first place? All the other police departments strut their stuff each year...)
Johnson is a corrections officer at a women's prison in Chino, CA, and part of the Gay Peace Officer Association. He filed the request to march in uniform to the State authorities, as well as his warden in May, and both responded in writing (an unwise mistake on their parts) stating that it is against the law to participate in an event in uniform that would 'discredit' the division (such as marching in the parade -- are they serious?).
Gloria Allred filed the lawsuit yesterday and made the notable statement at the press conference: "It's 2011, it's long over due for all gay people to be respected." She then added, "Everyday there is an act of discrimination, is a day of harm... We're hoping for the right thing to be done... It's just really about equality."
We look forward to seeing you out and about at the L.A. Pride parade this weekend -- no matter what you're wearing!
-- JESSICA KLAEBE