Police across the nation are reporting confusion with family due to the term “partner” being used. For police officers it is a term to indicate co-workers. But in the gay community it designates being in a romantic relationship.
Officer John Davis tells us, “I updated my Facebook status to indicate I was dating this girl. Next thing I know all my cousins and my aunts are commenting how they were surprised I was with a woman. Turns out at a family reunion I talked about going to some bars with my partner after work. They all assumed that was code word for me dating some dude.”
The confusion is not limited to police. Many EMTs and Paramedics call fellow crew members their partner. In doing research for this story we came across hundreds of stories of public safety workers saying family misunderstood the intent of talking about a partner.
Experts in policing say this confusion is causing stress for employees. Police are feeling like they have to think about everything they say for fear of a double meaning.
Members of the gay community say they are open to talking with police about these terms. The reality is that partner seems to be more commonly known in the relationship context so it will likely be the police who have to change their term.