Melissa G. Sacluti, 34, grew up in the Chicago land area in a conservative, Catholic household. After coming out to her family at seventeen, she was forced to move out. Struggling to support herself and her partner at such a young age, Sacluti said she dropped out of school and worked a number of dead end jobs.
Today, Sacluti holds a Masters Degree from DePaul University and is a Sergeant for the Evanston Police Department in Illinois where she has worked for over a decade. At the end of last month, the department appointed her as Evanston’s first ever LGBT liaison.
“Evanston is an extremely diverse community,” Sergeant Sacluti told 429Magazine. “The city wants to make sure that the LGBT community has a voice.”
Evanston, a suburban city just twelve miles outside of bustling Chicago, has a population of about 75,000. It’s also the hometown of Northwestern University, as well as John Cusack and Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder.
In her new position, Sacluti will be responsible for fostering positive relationships between the police department and LGBT citizens through engaging city activities, including 5k marathons, bike rides, and parades.
“I am extremely grateful to the Evanston Police Department and Sergeant Sacluti,” said openly gay Sixth Ward Alderman Mark Tendamn, according to an announcement on the Evanston City website. “With the establishment of a police liaison, the LGBT community now has a dedicated voice serving them.”
Sacluti, who identifies as and is openly lesbian, says she hopes to be a voice for the LGBT community and to inspire others to be involved in city matters and activities.
“Moving out at such a young age caused a ripple effect on my life,” said Sacluti. “I’ve made a number of mistakes along the way. Now, I’m successful at my job, I have a Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice, a Master’s Degree in Public Administration, and the sky is truly the limit.”
Sacluti lives in Evanston with her partner and their two children. To bear more good news, 429Magazine is pleased to report that the happy family has another baby on the way.
“No matter how hard you think it is, it isn’t,” said Sacluti. “Be strong and carry on. Be you, be happy! But never forget what you came from.”