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D.C. Firefighters And Sensitivity

This is the kind of story that leaves me between teary and angry.

Many know the story of 1995 death of Tyra Hunter, a transgendered woman left to die by EMS personnel after it was discovered she had a penis.

As part of the settlement, the District of Columbia firefighters were required to go to sensitivity training.

Well, a D.C. judge said the firefighters harassed the teacher of the required sensitivity course.

Judge Geoffrey Alprin reversed the D.C. Office of Human Rights’ decision and ruled in favor of Kenda Kirby, who accused D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services officials of belittling her because of her sexual orientation and androgynous appearance.

The four-year-old case now goes back to the Human Rights office for a conciliatory hearing.

In a strongly worded ruling, Alprin found probable cause that EMS management also sought to punish Kirby after she complained about harassing comments that were placed into her mailbox.

“The record reflects that this constant stream of hostility manifested itself in a number of ways . . .,” Alprin wrote. “The sum total of this evidence supports findings of a history and culture of homophobia and sexism in the D.C. FEMS.”

This morning I think I’ll cry for Tyra Hunter and Kenda Kirby. This afternoon I think I’ll feel pissed at D.C.’s firefighters of the late nineties and early 2000’s. This evening my thoughts will be for those future victims that will need help from the D.C. Fire and Emergency Management System.

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Autumn Sandeen

Autumn Sandeen