Directed by MIN-SOOK-LEE
BADGE OF PRIDE is a documentary film that looks at the lives of gay cops; cops who are out and cops who are somewhere in between the closet and the cruiser. Shot in Toronto, BADGE OF PRIDE looks at how queer cops in Canada’s largest police force deal with being gay in a profession that has traditionally been strongly anti-gay. Min Sook Lee spent over a year following policing issues in her award winning documentary, HOGTOWN. During that time, she secured extraordinary access to insiders within the police force. BADGE OF PRIDE was given access to police officers on the job, in training, at the office and on the beat. The film surveys the landscape of how much things have changed. Coming out has a price and BADGE OF PRIDE asks, ‘Will the force be with you if you are gay!?’
The storyline revolves around four main characters that have each developed different coping strategies and show how problems still persist despite what the police PR machine indicates. For each of our characters, being gay has shaped their professional paths- whether they’d like to admit it or not. We meet Constable Jackie O’Keefe (43), a ten year veteran of the Toronto Police Service who entered policing after spending a decade as a lesbian activist; Sergeant Judy Nosworthy (48), a twenty two year veteran who is the country’s first out Lesbian cop and the highest-ranking LGBT cop in Canada; Constable Todd Hillhouse (45), a nineteen year veteran who was hounded out of street patrols and into a desk job by homophobes in his division and Constable Paul Regan, a rookie whose just joined the service and is openly gay in his division.
This is a documentary that captures the wave of change that is taking place across the world. On the surface, the acceptance of LGBT rights is gaining a foothold in legal charters, constitutions and mainstream culture. The most interesting test of this wave of rights is within a site that has traditionally been defined as oppositional. The police force was never set out to be an equity friendly environment. It is a para-military culture that reveres law and order of the most colonial kind. What’s troubling is the public has the impression that their police force is progressive and fully accepting of gays and lesbians. This film reveals that even in a big urban center like Toronto, things are not always what they seem.