Bay Springs man new LGBTQ liaison officer for EMS in NOLA
A Bay Springs man who worked as a dispatcher in Jasper County and Jones County has been appointed to a newly formed position in the City of New Orleans.
Tracy “TJ” Boyd Jr., who turns 27 on June 6, is NOLA’s Emergency Medical Services’ liaison officer to the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (or questioning) communities.
“As a member of the gay community, I am honored to be chosen for this position,” said Boyd, a graduate of Sylva-Bay Academy. “My main goal is to continue nurturing and developing a strong relationship between the LGBTQ+ community and the City of New Orleans Public Safety Team. Together, we will accomplish great things for our community.”
Even though he is young, Boyd grew up working in emergency services. His father is a retired Mississippi Highway Patrolman and his three older brothers were also MHP Troopers. All were in the volunteer fire service, too.
Boyd was working as a 911 dispatcher for the Jasper County Sheriff’s Department when he was just 16 and worked his way up to assistant supervisor. At 18, he was also working as a dispatcher at the Jones County Emergency Operations Center while also serving as an Emergency Medical Technician for EMServ Ambulance Service. He moved to New Orleans in May 2016 as a 911 telecommunicator for Orleans Parish then transferred to New Orleans EMS in September of that same year.
This month, the announcement was made about his new job. Boyd went to his Facebook page last week to share the news about his life — personal and professional.
“If you didn't know, now you have officially heard it from me, that I am gay,” he posted. “Love me, hate me, disown me, unfriend me, do whatever it is you feel necessary to do because I feel as though I am getting this off of my chest. I have struggled with my sexuality in my early years. I have been through some extreme ups and downs in this journey we call life, just as many others have.
“After moving to New Orleans, friending some of the most magnificent, most accepting human beings that I've ever met, that would be by my side at any (beck and call), I can freely express myself without intimidation, hate and judgment. With that being said, I am incredibly excited for my new role as New Orleans EMS' LGBTQ+ Liaison Officer!”
Feedback from back home has been “more positive than negative,” Boyd said.
“All of my friends and acquaintances from back home have been very supportive,” he said. “They appreciate and respect me for who I am as a person and not based on my sexual orientation. You can’t let the negative outweigh or take precedence in the happiness of your life.”
As the LGBTQ+ liaison officer, Boyd will be promoting equality and inclusion in the workplace and educating first-responders on LGBTQ-related emergency healthcare conditions and respectful practices when caring for these individuals. Boyd will also be working with the New Orleans Police Department and other City of New Orleans LGBTQ+ liaisons to help build mutual trust, respect and understanding between the LGBTQ+ community and the city’s public safety team while working with local partners to ensure that LGBTQ+ patients have positive prehospital healthcare experiences.
The idea for creating the job was not in response to any incident, but it was a proactive measure taken by the city, Boyd said.
“Nationally, there are few agencies that have unique LGBTQ+ policies and processes for EMS providers, and we are working to enhance what is currently available and be innovative in our approach to the unique needs of first-responders and the LGBTQ+ community,” he said. “We are wanting to reiterate our commitment of inclusion, acceptance and equality to NOEMS staff as well as the citizens and visitors of New Orleans.”
Some goals he has that he believes will be beneficial for the LGBTQ+ community include educating providers on LGBTQ+ related emergency health conditions and respectful practices when caring for homosexual and transgender patients, and conducting LGBTQ+ related sensitivity training for all NOEMS staff, including teaching management and support for transitioning employees.
“I am honored to be chosen for this position,” he said. “My main goal is to continue nurturing and developing a strong relationship between the LGBTQ+ community and the City of New Orleans Public Safety Team. It means so much to have the support of my peers.”