A transgender police officer is opening up about his experiences – and helping guide a fellow member of the transgender community who is considering a career in law enforcement.
In two exclusive clips from Wednesday’s Transcendent, Officer Broderick Elton of the San Francisco Police Department meets with Xristina, star of the Fuse reality series, which centers on a group of young trans women living in San Francisco.
“I have had a great experience as an officer,” Elton says in the clip. “A lot of that has to do with the mindset that you have. A good mindset and a positive outlook on life. If somebody doesn’t like me … I don’t presume it has anything to do with my gender identity until it’s very apparent.”
Xristina was the victim of a hate crime and is interested in pursuing law enforcement because police officers helped her after the attack.
“When they officers came, they were focused on me. Seeing if I’m all right. That made me feel like a human. Sometimes people alienate us,” Xristina says.
Elton says that people now make assumptions about him based on his appearance, and may not realize the journey he has walked as a transgender man. At an LGBT demonstration, a demonstrator shouted at him, because the man simply saw Elton as an authority figure who couldn’t possibly understand the LGBT struggle.
“He was yelling these things at me, because I represent the authority and all of these things that are unfair and unjust to this individual,” Elton says. “I’m very privileged. I’m a white guy. So my walk through life is very different, and the context of that is something I’m very aware of.”
Xristina notes that the story of Elton being yelled at illustrates the transgender experience as a whole.
“Nobody knows the struggles and the hardships we face. They just see the exterior, and we are being judged just for that.”
In a statement to PEOPLE, SFPD Police Chief Greg Suhr praised the contributions of transgender officers in the department.
“Numerous trans officers serve the city with distinction, including an officer who retired not long ago from the rank of lieutenant and a current patrol officer who was voted president of his police academy graduation class,” said Suhr. ” I am proud that the San Francisco Police Department is one of the most diverse police departments in the country, if not the world.”
Transcendent airs Wednesdays (11:30 p.m. ET) on Fuse.