First LGBT criminal justice summit held in Amsterdam
Nowadays, it’s easy to imagine police– not only watching over– but also participating in pride parades. In Amsterdam though, queer police will be present but only after attending the first LGBT criminal justice summit.
Held last August 3 to 5, the World LGBT Conference for Criminal Justice Professionals was attended by diplomats and law enforcement leaders all over the world for a first of its kind conference.
What’s more, this summit was set up by a pair of lesbian twin police officers of the Amsterdam police force, Marja and Ellie Lust.
The Lusts and the LGBT criminal justice summit
The sisters Lust, like most officers, entered into the Amsterdam police force wanting to make a difference. However, they not only learned what it means to guard, but also to guide LGBT people.
Members of the Pink in Blue– an anti-LGBT discrimination group in the police department– they elected themselves as the lesbian faces in the police force to encourage LGBT people to directly contact an LGBT officer.
The Lusts also came up with Proud To Be Your Friend, the first ever global summit for LGBT criminal justice professionals.
For law-enforcement people attending the summit, Marja said in an interview, “We want people to leave inspired. We want people to go back and commit to do something in their respective organizations, and to do something that will make a change.”
“We want them to also connect with their local LGBT communities,” she added.
The UN and the LGBT criminal justice summit
The summit was supported financially by the International Security Fund of the European Commission. However, the United Nations also endorsed the summit as well.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon relayed a video message to the summit, congratulating the organizers of the conference and declaring: “I stand with you.”
“The United Nations shares your commitment to protect lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex people from violence and discrimination,” the UN Secretary-General said.
“I applaud your work to sensitize police officers, prosecutors and other criminal justice officials– and rebuild trust with LGBT communities. I salute your courage in facing down discriminatory attitudes,” he added.
Aside from criminal justice professionals from twenty-six countries in six continents, also present at the summit were Human Rights Watch’s Boris Dittrich and Desmond Tutu’s former clergy daughter Andrea Tutu.
A lasting impression for attendees of the summit
The Lusts are hoping for a second summit to be held three years from now in a new city.
With representatives in the summit also attending this year’s pride parade in Amsterdam, Marja said: “We want to present this city as a future image of how we want the world to be.”