Overcoming discrimination: openly gay sheriff is pioneer in fight against homophobia

After facing discrimination and losing her job at the Hamilton County Sheriff's Office in Ohio, Charmaine McGuffey becomes the county's first woman and openly gay sheriff.
7:49 | 01/15/21

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Transcript for Overcoming discrimination: openly gay sheriff is pioneer in fight against homophobia
And now to history made in Ohio after years of discrimination and losing her job at the Hamilton county sheriff's office chart making the guff he ran against her former boss and one. Now she's the county's first woman and openly gay sheriff can whitworth has her story. She knew early she wanted a life in law enforcement told at fourteen years old. You can't do that she was defiant and determined and I announced it to my family and my uncle. If you was president he was a former police officer was his state police department retired. And he probably told me you know what Charlemagne that sucker happen. You can't do that. You're not allowed. You're a woman and women do not work in uniform like debt they don't ride in cars they don't enforce the laws. Now at 63 years old in her hometown. She holds of the department's highest office. Charming McAfee is the first female sheriff in a history of Hamilton County Ohio. The entire time he was telling me why couldn't do it com I was thinking about it my mind how I was gonna get it done. And how I was gonna achieve that of the more than 3000 departments in the country women make up just 3%. Of working shares. For me personally. My biggest challenge was to prove myself. And group myself every day. There was no per day. Then I walked in since sheriff's office in this uniform. Wearing these bands that I didn't know I have to be twice as good. As anybody I encounter is any situation. I am almost zero margin for mistake. She's also the first openly gay person to hold that ranged in Hamilton County but what it here I. Weiss the same tune now they're holding this lets me she. And my uniform on and substandard kitchen. And she started crying she just looked at me assert Kernen. It's been carnival climb for us. Well rising through the department she kept her personal life. Personal you know people did try to find out about me and I did experience discrimination I did experience harsh. Words in treatment because people thought I was gay. Surrounded by suspicion she says a coworker wrote a gay slur on her bathroom door. I would easily ten. Henin at that time and a mansion bond gained treated that way would as a woman who's holding high rank. How peace can get for people. In this business Ian in jail so I took a picture of it. And I took it down to our administrators at the time my administration. Armed and bomb they laughed about it was funny and yes they laughed about it they made jokes about it. And that is when I knew I mean I flat absolutely knew I was on my hand. I was on my hand to deal wins whatever hardship came my way. Com and I wasn't gonna get any help and then after an altercation outside a gay bar she was cited by police. The citations later dropped but the damage was done she was out it. And reprimanded her but she says it was only then that she really began to live her life why I. Aunt married a woman. Barrett who I loved here and we marched in the income it's kind gay pride parade. She also says that's when they hate began to show at work after remarks and that create and they took pictures of me in my uniform. Where's my wife and I. That was just too much for some people in the sheriff's office and calm. And those people time. Peeking into so harder recently instant endings to story. Happen at the time she was in command at 600 uniformed employees and commander of jail services and can't. Holding the rank of major she says she witnessed excessive use of force by officers and was frustrated. But they were not being held accountable she says she voiced her concerns to the sheriff at the time. Jim Neal arms tool to stand down. I was still linger with the flu. I was told to stay in relaying McAfee claims that after she spoke out sheriff Neil then tried to demote her act the woman who was once named a law enforcement officer. But the year. Are always looked up to her dog during the years that I've been here. She is things got real tough I could always go down to her office and she just. It's she's just amazing woman is he really years. According to court documents sheriff Neil cited an internal affairs investigation that concluded McAfee had created a hostile work environment. McAfee. Refused. The demotion. I refused a demotion. And because of that. He had to fire me he'd he'd and he just flat fired me. It was a home. May fifth 2017. That I walked into his office at 9 AM. I walked out of the office at 920. And I was done I was stripped to my uniform. My livelihood. Everything I'd work for for so many years. She believes he fired her because she was openly gay and for alleging excessive force was used by other officers she then filed a federal lawsuit against Neil the suit was settled just days before she took office Neil and the department did not admit to the allegations but a gusty. We'll receive over 200000. Dollars in lost wages Neil declined to comment determined to run a better department reform the criminal justice system and hire qualified and diverse staff members. She wasted no time. Making history yet again winning the election for county share. All but felt tremendous it felt great and it might mean. It let me know that people knew the truth. And people knew that I was telling the truth. I let this curve and mound are you create she's a rumpus chair she promoted 32 year old Jacqueline reed to major. She is the first African American woman to hold that post in Hamilton County. Well it means collapsed and means. Pratt and I'm glad to escape Islam that they did. Means heart work and it also made my children very proud which is something not always strapped to a cop. Listen she says after years of watching men get promoted before her she nearly gave up. But may Duffy was always encouraging Har. Never thought I would make it this far but it. I'm very proud spell it out because I was reading double door. Opening and you know she approached incidents. Unique team and each young teen and number one's paints. An asset to the union or as I'm ready to change. States Betty easy so wouldn't you say said New York fourteen year old south now. Wow that is Greek question. I would say a I would see. So Armey you've done good. I expect. Shared McAfee says and now in her role she wants to change the culture with in the department 21 that better recognizes the people they supervised. And people they police bringing trust into the community. Stand she said that part of the job when you Wear a badge is to help move people along in their life. Stand I love that care where we're at thanks for that story.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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