As different departments, colleges, and organizations across Michigan State University celebrate Pride Month, MSU Police and Public Safety is raising awareness through education. The department just finished its second in-service training of the year on June 14, with one of the sessions highlighting an important group within the LGBTQ+ community: Transgender people.
The training, titled Transgender 101, was led by Petra Grivins, a long-time MSU employee. Ms. Grivins began her presentation by explaining her numerous roles that she’s held throughout her career in public safety. However, she says her accolades are often diminished when people find out that she’s a transgender woman.
“Transgender people are a minority of minority groups, and as such have an uphill battle pushing against the misconceptions and hate directed their way. This training is just an attempt to humanize them, and provide officers some tools when encountering trans folks in their daily job. It’s important to note that violence against trans folks is increasing, unfortunately,” said Grivins.
According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, hate crimes against transgender people are increasing year by year. The FBI reports that 213 transgender people were the target of a hate crime in 2020, which is a 50% increase from 2017. These numbers are based on data received from thousands of law enforcement agencies across the country.
Captain Florene McGlothian Taylor, who is in charge of MSU DPPS’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives, says she has been in touch with Grivins for years and is grateful that she was able to come to the department to host the training.
“Michigan State University is larger than some people’s own cities and counties, especially if you come from a rural area. So, from that standpoint, it’s important for our officers to be able to relate to a variety of individuals. This was perfect timing for this to happen during Pride Month,” said McGlothian-Taylor.
The Transgender 101 training was in lecture form and covered personal stories, statistics, and myths surrounding transgender people. It was geared specifically toward law enforcement personnel.
Grivins says for her, hosting this training is a way to give back.
“I have around 30 years of experience as a first responder in a volunteer capacity, including my time as a fire service instructor. For me, it’s a way to reconnect with the people who do a thankless job at great risk to themselves, while also trying to lift up otherwise unheard voices,” said Grivins.
Grivins hopes she’s able to create change.
“I’m very grateful for my chance to have done this. I’m hoping I’ve made a difference, no matter how small,” said Grivins.
MSU Police and Public Safety is committed to evolving to better serve the community. To learn more about the department’s priorities and initiatives, click here.
Dana Whyte, Spokesperson, MSU Police and Public Safety
Inspector Chris Rozman, Public Information Officer, MSU Police and Public Safety