(LEX 18) — A photo of Kentucky State Police Troopers with the title, "Our color is gray, our gender is trooper," posted as a Facebook cover photo Tuesday has been called tone-deaf by many commenters, who said it's offensive to people of color and the transgender community.
The post has received thousands of comments and shares, and while some were supportive of the message, many have called for it to be removed.
As of Wednesday evening, the image was no longer the cover photo on the KSP Facebook page, but the post was still up.
"By reducing it down to color and gender, it's a message that says we don't take seriously the struggles people of color and trans people and trans people of color face," said Alyxander Rowan, a trans man from Kentucky who saw the post when it was shared by a friend on Facebook.
The post made him feel unsafe, he said.
"If I ever did need to call KSP for whatever reason...I don't think they would respect me or respect my gender," he said.
Kentucky State Police Sgt. Billy Gregory issued a statement regarding the post:
"Over the past 25 years, the Kentucky State Police has used the phrase to demonstrate that the agency is committed to racial and gender inclusivity. Prior to today, we were unaware of any concerns raised about the phrase. Given that KSP is committed to providing professional services to everyone in the commonwealth and is actively pursuing a diverse workforce, we look forward to discussing and learning more about the concerns raised today."
But Rowan, who said he and other friends had never heard the phrase before, felt the image was targeted toward vulnerable communities.
If KSP has been using the phrase for 25 years, Rowan said that it is time for a change.
"If they're really committed to serving and protecting everyone, then they need to issue some sort of new slogan that really does feel inclusive," he said.
Since the airing of this story, the Facebook cover photo has been removed from the Kentucky State Police page.