The D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department on June 1 issued a five-page General Order on Gender Identity and Expression that updates the department’s policy for dealing with transgender patients and employees.
Among other things, the order says Fire and EMS Department members are required to treat transgender patients and citizens with respect and without bias, including the way they address them by name.
“The Department shall ensure that all employees respect and use a transgender individual’s preferred names and pronouns, as repeated failure to do so can be considered harassment under the District of Columbia Human Rights Act and a violation of Department policy,” the order states.
“The gender identity expressed or presented by the individual shall be accepted and honored,” the order says, adding, “Transgender individuals shall not be subject to a more invasive medical exam or procedure than any non-transgender individual solely on the basis of their transgender identity.”
It says that if a transgender person’s legal name or birth gender is needed for legal or medical reasons, it must be kept confidential.
“The members shall provide to the relevant hospital staff information that is medically necessary regarding the transgender individual, so they may treat the person respectfully, while maintaining confidentiality of the information from non-relevant hospital staff,” the order says.
Concerning transgender employees at the Fire and EMS Department, the order says the department, when requested, “shall make reasonable accommodation, including medical leave, for transgender related and other health needs,” including but not limited to medical or counseling appointments, surgery, recovery from surgery, “and any other related procedures.”
Fire and EMS Chief Gregory M. Dean and the department’s Diversity Program Manager Kim McDaniel told the Blade last week that although the release of the general order at the start of LGBT Pride Month was a coincidence the department would be reaching out to the LGBT community this weekend.
Dean noted that department employees and officials, along with a fire truck, will be participating in the Capital Pride Parade on June 10. He said along the parade route paramedics would offer on-the-spot CPR chest compression training to parade bystanders as well as participants.
“I think as an agency we have a responsibility – and since Kim joined us we have been very diligent – in trying to make sure we honor all types of diversity here within the agency,” Dean said.