The New York City Fire Department has hired its first female, gay chief of Emergency Medical Services (EMS).
Lillian Bonsignore will be the first woman to hold the Chief of EMS position since the department was created 154 years ago, according to The New York Daily News.
Bonsignore will reportedly become the highest-ranked woman in New York's uniformed service, and the highest-ranked openly gay member, the paper reported.
“Someday we’re going to have this same promotion and it’s not going to be a big deal at all," Bonsignore told the Daily News. "But I guess that time is not right now, and I’m accepting my responsibility as a role model and mentor for those around me."
She has been working with the department for 28 years, working her way up the ladder after starting as a emergency medical technician.
“It’s kind of odd that the thing I get celebrated for the most – people are always like, ‘Wow, you’re a woman and you’re gay’ – are the two things I put the least work into,” Bonsignore said.
Bonsignore, a mother of two daughters, said she hopes to serve as a role model to other mothers who have struggled "to make it day to day."
"It’s my position to do the same for all those coming behind me — men and women, gay or straight," she said. “I want them to know that, yes, it is possible for you to be a young mother in the Bronx, struggling to make it day to day, and still be possible for you to get to the point where you are running one of the biggest and most recognized EMS systems in the world.”
She will replace retiring Chief James Both at the helm of the 4,500-person EMS department.