Marquel, TPVs NYTimes Each To Her Own Section correspondent, was eating a little bit of this and a little bit of that when he read New York Fire Dept., Diversifying Ranks, Is Set to Swear In First Lesbian Chaplain.
The Rev. Ann Kansfield of the Greenpoint Reformed Church in Brooklyn is also the first female chaplain in a department that for decades resisted efforts to diversify it. Marquel looked at her picture and could see why her family were all in the fire department. She is a big woman and her father, brothers, uncles, and so on, are probably even bigger. One look at her and you say,
“there’s a potential firefighter.”
But then there was this lesbian deal. How did that fit in? Marquel called the department and went downtown to talk with the higher ups.
“We’re very proud that the department has moved so far. Not only a woman but a lesbian too,” said the captain.
“You sound like you just shot a deer Not only was it a ten point buck, but it was pure white.” I said.
“I don’t understand. Don’t you like that she’s gay? What does deer have to do with it. I don’t even hunt. But many firefighters do.” He said.
“Not at all.” He said.
“Diversity! She’s a unique and valued addition to the department.” He said.
“Well…of course. It doesn’t matter.” He said.
“Because she is.” He said.
“What gay firefighters?” He asked.
“Not that I know of.” He said.
He turned to face me and demanded, “Who?”
“Oh, her.” He said.
“Well she’s a minister. A chaplain.” He said.
“Well,” he said.
“I suppose so,” he said.
“There’s no such thing as a gay fire,” he said.
“Of course,” he said.
“If there were gay fires, I’d know,” he said.
“And that’s where you’d send this new chaplain, right?” I asked.
He looked at me. Speechless. I felt guilty. I’d worn him out. Not much of a firefighter.
By MARQUEL: The Melting Pot