The Colorado State Patrol trooper who was denied reinstatement to the state patrol because he's gay said Thursday the patrol is full of narrow-minded attitudes, and if you speak up you become a target of ridicule.
A judge ruled earlier this week in favor of the former state trooper, saying the discrimination case spotlights a culture of homophobia and intolerance within the state patrol.
The former trooper said he never meant to be a poster child for gay rights.
"I was very proud of being a member of the state patrol," the trooper told 7News reporter Russell Haythorn.
In fact, he's still not out to his parents, which is why he asked 7News not to use his full name.
"And that's something I have to deal with," he said. "And that's going to be very, very difficult."
This week, the former state trooper won a landmark sexual orientation discrimination case against the state patrol.
"It was a very difficult choice to bring forward, but things were done to me that were blatantly wrong," he said. "I didn't get into it to be the poster child or carry the flag for gay rights, but with everything I've been through, if it leads to change -- I would like to say that it's been worth it."
The judge ruled that of particular concern was the line of questioning during a polygraph test the trooper took for reinstatement. According to the 50-page court ruling, the examiner asked the former trooper about a sexual encounter he had with a masseuse.
"When I was asked the question about 'male or female masseuse?', at that point, I knew that I was not going to be brought back to the state patrol," said the trooper. "Another question I was asked -- because of my vacation time in Thailand, I was asked if I had sex with children in Thailand. I took extreme offense to that because nothing led up to that being an acceptable question."
"The polygraph examiner later testified under oath that he asked the question because of a documentary he had seen on TV," said the trooper. "You do not ask that question of somebody because you saw a documentary on television."
The trooper said rumors were also being spread in the state patrol that he was a child molester.
On Wednesday, Jim Davis, the head of the state patrol, disputed the judge's ruling to 7News. When Davis was asked if a gay man could work as a state trooper and be comfortable, Davis answered, 'Yes.'
"I don't believe that," said the former trooper. And he said he's not the only one. "Other troopers are scared to death to come out. The ones I've talked to are in no way ever planning on coming out."
The former trooper said the hardest part about all of this has been the dishonesty of other troopers.
"Sitting there watching in the courtroom and knowing exactly what happened -- and then hearing them testify to what they say happened, was very painful," he said. "Especially people who I respected and held in high-regard. If they're willing to lie under oath that they never heard a gay joke in the state patrol, what are they willing to lie about as troopers on the streets?"
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