AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Austin Police Department now has its first openly transgender officer. Senior Officer Greg Abbink has been with the force for a decade. Joining as a woman, it wasn’t until this year that he says he really started living.
“So, for about 10 years, the folks here in this department that know me have known me as Emily,” said Sr. Officer Abbink.
That all changed for him this past spring.
“I’m Greg now,” he said, “and so that’s been interesting for folks to have to make that transition.”
Outside of Austin’s city hall on Thursday, people gathered for the Transgender Day of Remembrance. Each year someone from APD’s Lesbian and Gay Police Officers Association is one of the speakers. This year was the first time the department had a transgender officer be that person.
“I was honored when I was asked to speak,” said Abbink. “I can’t imagine the city of Austin or the Austin Police Department, for that matter, being any more supportive than they are. I consider APD my family. They are truly my brothers and sisters.”
Greg says coming out as a transgender has its challenges, but more importantly, it has rewards.
“I didn’t do this for anyone other than me,” he said. “And I don’t mean to sound selfish, but I had to do this to be the best person that I can be, so that I can serve the public — the city of Austin — to the best of my ability.”
Abbink hopes his story will inspire others.
“Not that I started out to be this, but, I’d like to be a role model if I can,” he added.