From left: Sheriff Lupe Valdez, Mica England and Maj. Barbara Hobbs

Mica England spoke to The Dallas Way at S4 on May 4 to tell her story of when she applied and reapplied to the Dallas Police Department in 1987 and 1989. After she was rejected for “deviant sexual behavior,” she sued the city and won.

Sheriff Lupe Valdez, who introduced England, said she was in the closet at work while England stood up and refused to lie. She pointed out that while the police and sheriff’s departments refused to hire gays or lesbians, they hid officers accused of domestic violence and other offenses.

“Mica England was my hero,” Valdez said. “She had guts.”

England said the story that unfolded 25 years ago and resulted in Dallas Police changing its hiring policy as well as the sodomy law being declared unconstitutional in North Texas remained very emotional to her. Sensitivity training by Dallas Gay and Lesbian Alliance began as part of the settlement and continues today.

Maj. Barbara Hobbs has been a Dallas police officer for 30 years. She said attitudes at DPD began to change after England won her case. Around that time, the very progressive Ben Click became police chief and actively sought LGBT officers.

Hobbs pointed out that today Dallas has one of the most progressive police departments in the country. She said 17 percent of the force is women making it the second highest percentage of women in a major city police department in the country. Number 1 has just 18 percent women.

England said by the time she won her lawsuit, she was too high profile to serve in the department. However her case has had a lasting impact. Last year, Monica Cordova, who is lesbian, was named officer of the year.

The full transcript of England’s talk and the video will follow.