A gay firefighter with the FDNY is suing the city of New York and a former chief diversity officer for antigay harassment and hostility.
Corey Boykins is seeking an apology and unspecified damages in a complaint filed in the Brooklyn Supreme Court. In an exclusive interview with Spectrum News NY1 he said Lt. Darius Dorsett, the department’s chief diversity officer at the time, explained how gay men had been “cured” of their sexual identity and suggested he have sex with both men and women.
“Immediately, the first thing was: I don’t belong in the firehouse and…basically being gay was a choice, having sex is about procreation,” Boykins said of his thoughts when meeting with Dorsett.
He also alleged “hand diagrams” were used during the conversation to explain heterosexual intercourse. Dorsett was subsequently reassigned and no longer serves as a diversity officer. He did not return requests for comment from NY1.
A spokesperson for the FDNY referred NY1 to the city’s Law Department who said “There is no room for discrimination or retaliation at any agency. The complaint is being carefully reviewed.”
Boykins said he was willing to accept some ribbing in the rough and tumble dynamics of a firehouse, but he took a stand when antigay slurs were directed at him specifically.
“This is making me feel some kind of way, like I’m taking this home,” he said. “And the only thing I should take home is something bad at a fire or I saw someone passed away. Those are things I’d be OK taking home.”
The entire affair eventually took a toll both mentally and physically, and Boykins said he suffered a breakdown. While asking for an apology and unspecified damages in his complaint, he made clear he wants to stay on the job no matter what happens with his case.
“I would risk my life for any civilian or one of my brothers, one of the firefighters,” Boykins said.