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My name’s Chuck Doerrer and I’m from St. Louis, Missouri.
I was employed as a special agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms. I didn’t know any gay people in law enforcement so it was hard to kind of be the first one to be out there and of course as you get out there you realize that there are more people out there. Some of my friends now, one of my best friends is a sergeant on the police department, I’m friends with State Troopers, and all over, and it’s, you know, it kind of becomes a community within the law enforcement community.
My story takes place on August 10, 2005. We’d executed a bunch of search warrants and culminated a case that we’d worked on for about a year and a half. And as we do frequently, we went out celebrating afterwards, and which also happens frequently is, myself and one of my friends…well, at the time, unbeknown to me, he knew that I was gay. It was just the two of us and we were out and about and it was late in the morning and I think he probably felt a little relaxed from the alcohol, and he turns to me and he says, “It’s okay to be gay and be in law enforcement.” And it kind of took me back and I was a little bit stunned. He proceeds to tell me that he knew, and said, “People respect you for being an investigator and they’re going to respect you regardless.” And that meant a lot to me personally and professionally, as I was able to go forth and get respect and people respect me for who I am.