SAN FRANCISCO—The Rev. Dr. Megan Rohrer was sworn in as the San Francisco Police Department’s first transgender chaplain on Tuesday,  January 17.

Rohrer, 36, is the pastor of Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church and serves as executive director of Welcome – an organization that aims to thwart poverty in San Francisco. Rohrer arned a Master of Divinity degree from Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, and is also a candidate for the Doctorate of Ministry degree.

Pastor Megan is an author, artist, activist and educator who speaks and preaches nationally on issues of homelessness, sexuality and gender. Rohrer provides support to San Francisco’s LGBT homeless community, creates programs to collect groceries for the city’s HIV+ population, nationally advocates for homeless LGBT youth and has been instrumental in encouraging faith communities’ acceptance of LGBT individuals.

Rohrer spoke with the San Francisco News regarding why she took on the role of chaplain for the SFPD.

“I was asked to serve by LGBT members of the SFPD. They wanted the clergy support to more fully match the diversity of the offers serving. I also have a family member who is a first responder and have seen first hand the toll the job takes and how hard it is to get self care. I learned that more officers in the US die from taking their own lives, than from all the other causes of officer deaths combined.

As I put on the uniform to be sworn in the most common thing officers told me, after saying thank you, was to be careful. By putting on this uniform you need to always be aware of your safety. The fear that officers live with, of the constant threat of attack is palpable. I also experience the palpable desire to address public concerns and decrease community tensions.

I am grateful that I get to be a SFPD chaplain. These days it is a much harder to be a policy maker, judge or advocate.

While I may be there on difficult days, in follow-up to a shooting, death or other critical incident, I also get to be there when officers collect coats for the homeless and new cadets graduate.

My vision, in partnership with the SFPD, is to enable faith leaders across San Francisco to support victims of crimes, first responders in community policing efforts, disaster preparedness response and death notifications,” said Rohrer.

Rohrer has extensive experience promoting LGBTQ inclusivity amongst the Christian community, as well as several published books which do the same, including: “Faith Families,” “Mr. Grumpy Christian,” “Transgender Children Of God” and “Is it a Boy or a Girl or Both?” – all which were named in Q Spirit’s top 35 LGBTQ Christian Books of 2016.

“As a pastor who is transgender, I know the weight of carrying confidential information and supporting the public. My neutral support of the SFPD as a chaplain provides one person in an officers life they can talk to without fear. Pastor’s have the legally protected ability to have conversations that cannot be subpoenaed and are truly neutral. I say this, not because officers need judicial protection, but to show the toll that always being scrutinized can take on the humans who serve as officers,” Rohrer said to the San Francisco News.