If you want to see someone advocate in the most awesomely possible way for LGBTQ representation while crushing gender role stereotypes, look no further than Brooke Guinan, New York's first and only transgender firefighter. She and several other members of the community recently teamed up to create a series of posters with the Vocal Organization for International Courage and Equality (V.O.I.C.E.) to promote LGBTQ support and awareness, and since the campaign was launched, Guinan's poster has taken the internet by storm. It features her proudly standing in her firefighter gear wearing a shirt bearing V.O.I.C.E.'s slogan: "So Trans, So What?"
27-year-old Guinan has a long history with the FDNY: Not only has she served there for six years, but she is a third generation firefighter. Four years ago, when she came out as trans to her employer and co-workers, the FDNY supported her decision. While she was recovering from transition-related surgeries and was unable to work the ladders, FDNY gave her a job in recruitment – which, incidentally, gave her an excellent platform to reach out to other members of the LQBTQ community and challenge gender stereotypes in a typically "masculine" job.
"Most queer people think that being a firefighter, a cop, or having a government job is unattainable. What a lot don't realize is you can do it," Guinan said in a statement to the Daily News . She hopes that by showing the possibility through her own life that she can inspire others to pursue opportunities that they thought weren't accessible to them and promote change and supportiveness.
The shirts themselves are meant to celebrate and inspire members of the LGBTQ community, and the proceeds from them will benefit the Shineout Music Festival, a gathering of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer and straight musicians to perform on an as-of-yet unannounced date in New York. Here is the inspirational poster of Guinan that has brought attention to this awesome campaign: