The CTIF Commission for Women in Fire & Rescue discussed transgender issues at monthly meeting
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25 participants from 17 countries were represented when the CTIF Commission for Women in Fire & Rescue Services held their most recent monthly online meeting. On Monday September 27, the CTIF Commission for Women in Fire & Rescue Services held another one of their monthly online meetings. The main speakers were Ms Jeonghee Jin from Korea, and Acting District Chief Sofie Lasiuk from the Toronto Fire Service.
Ms Jeonghee Jin, Deputy Fire Chief/ International Fire Services and Coordinator for the Korean National Fire Agency, opened by introducing herself and her Agency to the Commission. Jeonghee, who is also a commission member, wanted to give the Commission a better understanding of the fire agency’s work in Korea.
Acting District Chief Sofie Lasiuk, Toronto: About coming out as transgender in the fire service
In 2017 at the age of 49, Sofie "came out" to her 3,000 co-workers as a transgender woman. Sofie spoke in a very strong and engaging way to the Commission about how she has benefitted from the complete support of her fire service, and how she works to open avenues of conversation regarding transgender service members within Canada's safety and defence organizations.
She stressed the importance of making the "coming out" a gradual one, and not to expect all co-workers to be sympathetic at first. The way to overcoming negative reactions for her was through finding "allies" in the workplace, something which can be especially important early on in the process.
CTIF News would like to revisit this interesting topic later this year, if Chief Lasiuk is willing to share her story in a more public setting later on.