“Something Told Me That Cops Can’t Be Gay.”

by dennis rudder

My name is Dennis Rudder and I’m from Baytown, Texas. You know, when I was a kid growing up, going through high school and all, there was always that thought in the back of my mind that something was going on. My childhood, being in a conservative family, we never talked–sex was never discussed at the house. Never talked about being gay or anything like that. No lifestyle kind of discussions or anything, and I was really kind of lost not knowing what it meant to be gay. I didn’t like girls that much, guys were–I really didn’t like guys either. I was, I guess, kind of asexual. I was really naive when it came to really knowing what gay meant. And I didn’t start understanding that until I was going through college and met other people, had roommates, a lot of just socializing with people in college, I started understanding it. After college, I moved to Tyler, Texas, and was working up there and had two roommates and we eventually all three moved down here to Austin. And I was out at that time to my roommates and close friends and that type of thing. But I never did really admit that I was gay to myself. Of course, my family, I never mentioned it to them either. After I moved to Austin, I was working here for probably about 6 years before I really got into the gay scene. I went out to the bars, going to parties, all that kind of stuff, and really enjoying being with other people that way. But then in 1997, I decided that I wanted to be a Peace Officer so I enrolled in one of the local police academies and 7 months later I was a cop. When I joined with the academy, something in my mind–I don’t know how to explain it–but something told me that cops can’t be gay. And so I went back into the closet, way in the very back of the closet, probably for close to 15 years until just about two years ago. I was working on a big project and I was going through a lot of stress with my lifestyle, with my family, things at work, and I got depressed and eventually saw a therapist. Turned out he was gay too, went to the same university I did, so it worked out real well. I also went to my physician and got a prescription for some medication that helped out. And everything seemed to smooth out. And then in October of that same year, I decided it was time to go ahead and come out. I put a message out on Facebook to everyone. It’s been great. It was like the world was lifted off my shoulders. I didn’t have to tell any more lies about who I was dating, or going out with, or things of that nature. And it really, really felt good. My work partner used to come in my office and sit down, a couple times a week usually, and he would tell me, “Dennis, I’m so happy that you’re so happy these days.” And he says, “Since you came out, you’ve just totally changed into a different person.” And I guess I have because I’m definitely feeling a lot better these days and a lot more comfortable with everything. And for the whole part, or for the most part, all the responses I got back from family and friends were positive. I got comments back that said, “Well, we always thought there was something…” So yeah, there was something. I just wasn’t sure what it was at the time. The only negative responses I got to my Facebook post, not really negative, but one of my sister-in-laws called me and told me that, “Well, we had always suspected this. We don’t condone it but we support you.” And I never got any response back from my other brother, neither he nor his wife. And that kind of bothers me. But life goes on. I can’t wait around waiting for people to accept me, that’s not what I want. Accept me like I am or go do your own thing. So when I finally got through that and decided to come out, I tell you, it’s really changed the world. My only regret is that I waited way too late in life to come out. I know I’ve missed a whole lot but I’m also going to try to catch up. – – – NOTE: If you’re a police officer and want to join an online community of LGBTQ officers, send a message to Dennis on Facebook and ask for a request to join the group: https://www.facebook.com/dennis.rudder Or join the LGBTQ group, Protect and Defend, here: https://www.facebook.com/protectanddefend/

Dennis Rudder


  1. I really appreciate hearing from a fellow officer about his journey towards finding his way towards self acceptance. LGBTQ officers are usually a silent minority. Thank you for sharing.

    (One small edit suggestion – the facebook group for LEOs is only for male officers, please consider updating the post).

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  3. It’s unfortunate that their response to his Facebook post was “we don’t condone it but we support you.”

    That’s a contradictory statement which speaks volumes. It’s a verbal slap in the face. The only part of that statement a gay person hears is “we don’t condone it”. It’s fine if you don’t condone it. This is America. Nobody said you had to but at least keep that part to yourself. Little white lies. Life is all about how you make others feel about themselves.

    Make sure your Condemnation Club membership is up to date and you can complain about it later with the other condemning people. Just realize it’s a good way to make people lose all respect for you rather quickly as condemnation is NOT a respectable behavior.

    “Remember to not only say the right thing in the right place, but far more difficult still, to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.” -Benjamin Franklin

  4. I would be proud to know you and Iam very happy to know that there are more police officers in Austin .Thank You for being yourself and for doing a job with little thanks from the public .Without police this would be a bad world to live in. Thank You Sir

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