Lt. Barbara Giuliano came out as LGBTQ+ in 1997 shortly after joining the Montclair State University Police Department (UPD), feeling so comfortable in the environment she was working in that she was able to take this big step for the first time in her life.
After coming out at work, Giuliano was inspired to come out at home too. Her family was accepting of her sexuality and the lieutenant was fortunate enough to never face adversity for her sexuality.
Guiliano has spent her whole career with UPD as an LGBTQ+ police officer and hopes to inspire whoever she can to reach their goals, regardless of who they are.
“I feel that my interaction with students with that have questioned me or asked me about my sexuality, I think you can have a positive outcome with it,” Giuliano said. “People, other students, who may be considering law enforcement or any kind of future position can see how far I’ve come. Even with my rank and title, they can clearly see that I’m LGBTQ and they can clearly see that my sexuality has never stopped me from who I am. My sexuality has never hindered my goals in any way, in any capacity, especially in this department.”
Giuliano has worked on campus for 23 years as a police officer, a career that she was interested in pursuing from a young age.
“I was probably about ten years old [when I knew],” Giuliano said. “My dad was a police officer for 30 years. He worked for Newark PD and I knew that was something I always wanted to do or always had an interest in.”
She started her career here in 1997 when it was recommended to Giuliano to start at a university and she has been at Montclair State ever since.
“I started out as a patrol and then a detective, which is not a rank, it’s just a title. And then after six years, I went onto sergeant and stayed in that position for about six years and went on to lieutenant,” Giuliano said.
Over the 23 years that Giuliano has served the Montclair State community, she has become a valued member of the police force. Captain Kieran Barrett described Giuliano as an asset to the team as he spoke about his experiences with the lieutenant over the years.
“There are so many shared experiences we have had over the years, but I can say clearly there are those experiences where her compassion for others reminds me of who we all strive to be,” Barrett said. “We have to recognize early on in service to a campus that our role is not solely law enforcement and she has the ability to create opportunity for those in need and look to a more complete response for those in need.”
As a lieutenant, Giulianio works in a supervisor’s position over a squad of police officers. Although she no longer goes on patrols, she supports the squad that works under her.
As an LGBTQ+ officer, Giuliano says she shares her unique perspective and her experiences with students in hopes of helping guide them.
This type of outreach was made possible through the welcoming environment that the UPD has provided for Giuliano. Although the police force has the stereotype of being a male-dominant profession, Giuliano never felt hindered as she climbed through the ranks.
“Sexuality, or even being a female, [makes it a] tough career to advance in, to kind of spread your wings and be allowed to go after your dreams and hopes,” Giuliano said. “I was never stopped. I went through every rank I wanted to go through. I’ve never been met with any kind of discriminatory set back that I would ever stop myself from advancing in this department. I have many tasks afforded to me such as fire arms, I’m the field training officer, I’ve never been stopped. I contribute that to how welcoming and accepting this department is.”
Barrett claims that it is important to have diversity in the ranks of the police department to better relate to the student body it protects.
“I think any police agency should attempt to mirror the community they serve,” Barrett said. “This is not easily achieved as many have apprehension in a field that has historically been centered on males providing service. It is encouraging for us to know that officers such as Lieutenant Giuliano connect in a more meaningful way for our community members, in the hopes that it will also encourage more to take on the challenges in law enforcement, here and beyond.”
Giuliano works to bridge the gap between the police and the campus community. She has sat on panels, gone to the flag raising and is eager to speak with students to offer advice. Giuliano has short, black hair with a distinguished touch of gray at the temples. She stands tall with pride in her position and radiates an aura that suggests an approachable authority figure.
“This isn’t to be funny, but me myself, I don’t go around saying I’m LGBTQ, but I am very approachable and you can see from my look that I’m, you know, that you might want to question if I am. Someone may feel comfortable coming up to me and saying, ‘Hey Lt., how do you feel about this or how do you feel about that?’ or getting to know me and I would be more than happy to sit there and talk with them,” Giuliano said.
Barrett believes that this willingness to connect with students and the larger community makes Giuliano an excellent role model.
“She may not say that she considers herself a role model, but I do as I believe any person can find strength in the experiences of another they might identify with. If this means a person of color, a person with a disability, gender identification, or any other identification joins our mission then it is hopefully a small appreciation or role model for our community,” Barrett said. “I would never expect that officer to be the ‘go to’ person for a specific identification but if they feel comfortable with it then we should encourage it as well.”
Giuliano took a more modest approach to the same question, as she feels the inspiration she could offer to someone is more important.
“I do [hope I am a role model] for the same fact that I hope to, at some point, even with this interview, inspire someone to reach their goals,” Giuliano said.
Outside of her role as a lieutenant, Giuliano is a loving mother of a 16-month-old girl named Harper. She has also been married for eight years and enjoys photography. Barrett shared the familial aspect of Giuliano as something that the reader should know about her.
“I know that she is extremely proud of her work in law enforcement and takes pride in her work every day. She is a loving mother and spouse and I am proud of who she has become at Montclair State and beyond,” Barrett said.
Giuliano’s main motivation for the involvement she has initiated is to inspire students to go for whatever goals they may have.
“I’d like to add that if you have a dream, to go for it. Do not allow anything or anyone to stop you and to keep pushing. Sometimes we have to push a little harder but you can do it,” Giuliano said.