The City of New Orleans’ Emergency Medical Services (NOEMS) has announced that employees will wear commemorative pride badges to honor the LGBTQ community and allies who “serve with Pride.”
Officials have also announced sweeping changes to better serve the community and their LGBTQ co-workers. They say the badges represent their commitment to:
Educate our providers on LGBTQ+ related emergency health conditions, healthcare disparities, and respectful practices when caring for homosexual and transgender patients
Conduct LGBTQ+ related sensitivity training for all staff, including teaching management and support for transitioning employees
Develop policies and nondiscrimination protections that include gender identity and sexual orientation
Develop transparent complaint-handling procedures (both internally and externally) that deal with concerns the same way regardless of age, race, ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, religious belief, or ability
Appoint an LGBTQ+ individual to serve as liaison between community members and NOEMS regarding LGBTQ+ matters; and
Work with local partners to ensure that LGBTQ+ patients have positive pre-hospital healthcare experiences in the City of New Orleans.
“Nationally, there are few agencies that have unique policies and processes in place for LGBTQ+ EMS providers,” Lt. Jonathan C. Fourcade told LGBTQ Nation. “New Orleans EMS is working to enhance what is currently available and being innovative in our approach to the unique needs of our first responders as well as those in the community.
NOEMS has already appointed an LGBTQ liaison officer to begin the process.
“Our Liaison Officer has already begun meeting with persons at other City of New Orleans agencies to identify the needs and resources of our first responders so the policies and training may benefit us all,” Fourcade says. “We have identified dates for the Summer of 2019 to begin the education and training for our employees.”
“We commit to educate ourselves moving forward so that we can be better stewards of public safety for all of our residents. We strive to not only be tolerant but also accepting, including referring to our patients and colleagues by the identity they know themselves to be.”
Fourcade says the department is working in conjunction with the city’s Office of Human Rights and Equity to implement the pro-LGBTQ changes.