Gay police OK if they hide their homosexuality: Venezuela official

Gays should be allowed to serve as police officers, so long as they hide their sexual orientation, an official tasked with modernizing Venezuela`s law enforcement agency said in an interview.

AFP| Updated: Mar 19, 2015, 22:34 PM IST

Caracas: Gays should be allowed to serve as police officers, so long as they hide their sexual orientation, an official tasked with modernizing Venezuela`s law enforcement agency said in an interview.

"A homosexual can work as a police officer, so long as he doesn`t publicly demonstrate his sexual preference," said Freddy Bernal, who has been tapped by President Nicolas Maduro to lead an overhaul of Venezuela`s national police corps.

"I mean, can you imagine a police officer wanting to wear a pink shirt or lipstick?" Bernal said to the Globovision television network on Wednesday.

A former local official in Caracas and longtime ally of Maduro`s late predecessor, Hugo Chavez, Bernal also said tattooed and earring-wearing applicants should not seek to wear a police badge in Venezuela.

"Not that I have anything against earrings, but how are we going to make a police officer out of -- a hippie?" he said.

"The person who wants to become a police officer should be a young man of high aptitude with a good work ethic... A kid with a tattoo cannot become a member of the Bolivarian National Police!" Bernal continued.

"Maybe we could refer him for a job at the Culture Ministry," he joked.

Venezuela`s constitution forbids various forms of discrimination, including based on sexual orientation, but homosexuality is widely taboo in this socially conservative nation.

The country which has lagged behind others in Latin America that have introduced gay marriage or civil unions for same-sex couples, or which allow adoption by homosexuals. Venezuela has no such laws, or even legislative bills in the works to introduce greater rights for gays.