The FDNY will hold its first ever gay pride month celebration Monday at the New York City Fire Museum, officials said.
The department will honor Lillian Bonsignore, Deputy Assistant Chief & Chief of EMS Training; Tanya Koifman, a clinical social worker at Harvey Milk High School in the East Village; and Marble Collegiate Church in Kips Bay.
Bonsignore, 47, one of the two highest ranking women in the FDNY, runs the training for paramedics and EMTs. The FDNY responds to 1.4 million ambulance calls a year.
Bonsignore, who is openly lesbian, has spent 25 years with the FDNY.
“I have never felt that my orientation has ever been an obstacle,” she said. “It just mattered that I did a good job. I think we are moving forward as a department. They are more open to celebrating our differences, and this has been happening over the past couple of years.”
About 150 people from the LGBT community will attend Monday’s event.
“There's a stereotype of the department as a lot of straight white men,” said Brooke Guinan, 29, who is the LGBT outreach coordinator for the FDNY. “We want to do everything in our power to change that.
Guinan, an eight-year veteran, came out as a transgender woman about two years into her FDNY career.
“Initially it was an education thing,” she recalled. “The department had never really dealt with it before. We had to navigate bathrooms and locker rooms. The department was always very supportive.”