Philadelphia's First Openly Gay Deputy Sheriff Found Dead Before Pride Weekend

It was with deep sadness that the Philadelphia Sheriff's Office announced the death of its Deputy Sheriff, Dante Austin. Dante, the city's first Openly Gay Deputy Sheriff, was found dead right before Pride Weekend. 

Dante Austin was only 27-years-old when he was found dead. He was well-loved by his peers and by the community, as he cared about everyone. 

A man who cared

"Dante was a person who believed in and cared about everybody."

To Sheriff Jewell Williams, what happened to their colleague and friend was a tragedy not just for them, but for Deputy Austin's family, and the LGBTQ community in their hometown. 

Dante was not just known for being the first Deputy Sheriff but was also known for being one of the most intelligent ones they've ever had. 

A man who excelled

According to Sheriff Jewell Williams, he finished the Deputy Sheriff's exam with the highest score back in November 2013 and was an Army veteran. If things had gone according to plan, he would have been promoted to Sergeant on July 1, 2019. 

"This is a tragedy for the Sheriff's Office, Deputy Austin's family, and the local LGBTQ community. Dante was a person who believed in and cared about everybody. He had the highest score on the Deputy Sheriff’s exam when he was hired in November 2013. He was our first openly gay deputy sheriff and we promoted him to become our first LGBTQ community liaison in May 2017. Dante was scheduled to be promoted to Sergeant on July 1, 2019.” 

In light of what happened, the Sheriff's Office closed early that day out of respect for Deputy Austin and provided grief counselors to all their employees. 

A man who stepped up

Trying to put a stop to abuses against the LGBTQ community such as what happened to Deputy Austin, openly gay South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg recently entered the 2020 US Presidential Race. This is the first time that a married gay man has ever joined the race. 

Pete Buttigieg, 37, was elected as mayor of South Bend in 2011. He now joins the Democratic party is running for the 2020 presidential election. 

If Pete wins the bid for the Democratic nomination, he would be the first ever nominee in a major political party to openly identify himself as gay. He will also be up against current president Donald Trump if he does win the bid. 

With instances such as what happened to Deputy Austin happening around the country, it is vital for the LGBTQ to have allies in the government to advance their rights and their causes. 

Rest In Peace, Deputy Austin. 

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