The man in the Toronto police uniform staring back at him in the mirror these days is exactly how Myles Glazier always saw himself.
But the first openly Trans officer to be hired to wear that uniform knows that the journey to get there was not an easy one, and he would not have been able to get there alone.
Assigned as female at birth, the 26-year-old Orangeville native, struggled with his gender identity. It culminated in January 2016, when he finally reached out to a therapist to wrestle with the emotions overcoming him and keeping his life on hold.
“I went through a low point in my life with depression and anxiety,” he says now, of trying to come to grips in his early 20s with how to move forward into adulthood. “I just said to myself you have to change what’s happening or you’re never going to become a police officer.”
He met with a therapist to talk it through.
“From there it was a snowball effect. She brought in my family to help transition with me, who were all amazing and supportive,” he says. “From there it was slowly building up my confidence, alleviating anxiety I had been feeling.”
He says dealing with his gender identity alone was isolating and excruciating.
“You don’t know how your family is going to react. Are they going to kick me out? Are they ever going to talk to me again? What’s my sister and brother going to think? My grandparents? What are people at my job going to think? I was definetly blessed to have the family I have,” he says, noting that despite a loving family he had thoughts of moving away and never speaking to them again instead of addressing them.
That discussion with them was emotional but always full of love.
“Sitting on my bed bawling my eyes out, I just said to my mom I needed to tell her something,” he says, noting she spoke to him with love. “She ended with ‘Don’t worry I still love you, Mikey’, she was already joking giving me a male name.”
He couldn’t build himself up to tell his dad but sat down with him after his mom delivered the news.
“We sat at the kitchen table… We both bawled our eyes out and he said ‘I love you no matter what and I’ll always be here.’”
He hopes that every kid going through the same gender identity crisis finds someone to open up to. “Just know that it gets better, know there is support out there. You can find it through friends, colleagues at work, hopefully your family and parents. Find support is number one. I tried doing it alone and I couldn’t,” he says.
In late 2018, he applied to Toronto Police Service, believing that if anyone would accept him it would be one of the most diverse cities in the world.
“I just wanted to help people and thought it was an amazing career,” he says. “Now that I know that I want to use this job as a tool to help the Trans communities.”
He has learned that many people have accepted his transition. Orangeville Deputy Chief Leah Gilfoy, a former Toronto police officer encouraged him to follow his dream.
Through the Toronto recruitment, training and starting at 23 Division, he says everyone has supported him.
“It’s been amazing. Staff Janine Crowley at the College was amazing. My Sergeant and coach officer at 23 Division have been amazing – it’s just an amazing experience so far.”
Deputy Chief Barbara McLean, who is openly gay, says she is proud of the work of the Talent Acquisition Recruitment Team and all Service members for supporting Glazier through his first steps on the job.
“It symbolizes that narrative around a position in law enforcement for a person in the Trans community is changing. We serve everybody and welcome everyone, while we know that, not everyone hears that message,” she says. “It’s so important with Myles’ story that if you can see it, you can be it. There is room in our organization for everyone because our organization is stronger and our city safer because of it.”
So far, Glazier has relished the experience of responding to radio calls in the city’s Northwest end of the city, and wearing the uniform that he always imagined wearing as a child.
“My favourite part so far – and I know I’ve had 10 seconds on the job, but” he said, laughing. “We went to grab dinner and a little girl had seen us pull up and she jumped up and came running to the door when we walked through and shook my hand, and told me her name and said she has always wanted to be a Toronto police officer. So I gave her a patch I had in my pocket and said now you’re a Toronto police officer – she loved it.”
For more information on how to join the Toronto Police Service as a police officer or civilian member, visit tps.on.ca/careers