Retired OKC police officer receives Hero of Hope Award - KSWO 7News | Breaking News, Weather and Sports

Retired OKC police officer receives Hero of Hope Award

(Source KWTV) (Source KWTV)

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK (KSWO) – A transgender Oklahoman has been awarded the Hero of Hope Award for taking a stand for LGBT rights.

Paula Sophia Schonauer, a retired Oklahoma City police officer, decided to become a woman in 2001, making her the first openly transgender officer with the Oklahoma City Police Department.

“People don't understand transgender identity or transgender issues, but they respected my work ethic and that was what mattered to them and that was how we were able to build a bridge and not only be colleagues but friends,” she said.

The 20-year veteran retired with honor from the force but remains an advocate for transgender visibility and equality. Her published works include her first novel “Shadowboxer,” which explores closeted identities, the consequences of bullying, and the explosive release of a suppressed personal truth.  

 “The best thing to do is work on being authentic and work on being who you really are no matter where you are and being open and telling your story is important,” she said.

Schonauer received the honor from the Cathedral of Hope on Sunday in the sanctuary of Church of the Open Arms.

Copyright 2017 KSWO. All rights reserved. 

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