HRC Blog

Queen City Appoints LGBT Liason

Post submitted by Jeff Caywood, HRC Board of Governor of Greater Cincinnati

Pictured left to right: Political Co-Chair Edward Wagner, Board of Governor Karen Aronoff, Chief Deputy Sheriff Mark Schoonover, Sheriff Jim Neil, Major Charm McGuffey, LGBT Liaison Heather Dobbins, Board of Governor Cathy Sarky, Political Co-Chair Jon Groppe

It's been an incredibly exciting day in the Queen City (a.k.a. Cincinnati, Ohio)!

While the U.S. Supreme Court was announcing that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) was unconstitutional and marriage equality would return to California, the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office made its own historic announcement: the appointment of the first-ever liaison for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

What's even better was that all of this progress is taking place on the eve of the city's 40th anniversary of the Gay Pride Festival, which will be held on Saturday, June 29.

The LGBT liaison is Heather Dobbins. Heather is a straight ally and an 18-year veteran of the Hamilton County Sheriff Department. She is a certified peace officer and has worked as a corrections officer for most of her career.

Just a few weeks ago, HRC Board of Governors Karen Aronoff, Cathy Sarky and Andrew Winters met with Sheriff Jim Neil to make the case for an LGBT liaison in Hamilton County. He was incredibly supportive and committed to identifying an officer by the end of that week.

“As the Sheriff of Hamilton County, I serve all of the citizens of Hamilton County, Ohio, which includes the members of the LBGT community. As an employer in Hamilton County, I promote equal opportunity for employment, regardless of gender, race, religion or sexual orientation,” he added.

The Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office joins the Cincinnati Police and Fire Departments, which named LGBT liaisons in 2012. Cincinnati Police Officer Angela Vance and Fredrick A. Prather, District Fire Chief Prevention Bureau, were both appointed as LGBT liaisons at a Public Safety Forum last October.

All three organizations will march in uniform along with HRC volunteers in Saturday's Pride Parade.

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