Her name is Brooke, and she is a minority in the New York Fire Department’s male-dominated force. But it wasn’t always this way. She was once a he.
Brooke is believed to be New York City’s first transgendered firefighter.
The city’s testosterone-driven force currently skews 91 percent male.
The New York Post, which first reported the story, reports that Brooke is a third generation firefighter and comes from a family that has deep ties and respect from the force. Her father still reportedly works for the NYFD.
A NYFD spokesperson told ABCNews.com that Brooke is declining all interviews and is refusing to disclose her last name for the sake of her privacy. A message left in Brooke’s office was also not returned.
Brooke, who used to work at a ladder in Bensonhurst, Brookyln, now works at FDNY’s headquarters in a desk job, according to the New York Post.
The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Transgender Civil Rights project lauded the news as progress.
“Being transgender is just one part of who a person is and we are encouraged to hear her coworkers realize she is the same person and can be true to herself at work,” said Lisa Mottet, a transgender rights attorney at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
Mottet said she completely understood Brooke’s decision to keep her story private.
She also noted that while New York City has a non-discrimination law that protects transgender people in the workplace, the Gender Expression Non Discrimination Act has been languishing in the New York State Legislature for the past few years.
According to a study of 6,500 transgender people released by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force in February, 50 percent of those surveyed reported experiencing harassment on the job. Twenty-six percent said they were fired “because of who they are.”