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Philadelphia area law enforcement officials gathered Nov. 9 for the first meeting of the Greater Philadelphia Gay Officer Action League, called GOAL.

The meeting was closed to the public, but Nellie Fitzpatrick, director of the Philadelphia Office of LGBT Affairs, shared information after the fact.

Fitzpatrick said lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans identified officers shared their experiences in police departments. Deputy Commissioner Kevin Bethel, the LGBT liaison with the Philadelphia police, spoke about the need to support a safe working environment and increase respect for out officers in all ranks, districts and counties.

“The Gay Officer Action League is a fraternal organization of LGBT law enforcement officers working to create positive change throughout the law enforcement community and the communities they serve by supporting LGBT officers and their families,” said Mayor Michael Nutter in a video statement posted to YouTube by LGBT Philly, the channel for the city Office of LGBT Affairs.

“It truly is my honor to congratulate and thank the dedicated public servants responsible for forming this chapter of GOAL,” Nutter said, noting it will become a valuable resource.

GOAL groups also exist in New York City, Chicago and New England.

In a statement, Fitzpatrick called it a new chapter in the Philadelphia Police Department’s history, which “undoubtedly marks profound growth and progress.”

She said the league has tremendous work ahead to reform community-police relations and the criminal and legal systems.

“Thanks to the brave and pioneering efforts of these officers,” Fitzpatrick said, “social justice activists and advocates are no longer fighting alone from the outside, against a seemingly impermeable force, and we will see further progress through these change agents within.”