Class of 2021
Firefighter Kyrianne Mills originally hails from Montreal, Quebec, but now calls Fort McMurray home, volunteering her free time assisting with the transgender support group, helping out with fire department-related events, and charity fundraisers.
She recently sat down and chatted with YMM about her career, her accomplishments, and the worst advice she ever received.
YMM: What accomplishment are you most proud of?
KM: I am proud to have become a firefighter and to have successfully transitioned within the fire department. My two truths are that I was born a woman and a firefighter; this is reflected in my love, passion, attitude and work ethic. I was in the department for 7 years when I formally changed my name and came out as transgender at work. I am one of the first, if not the first IAFF member to transition in Alberta, (that I am aware of) and that was one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made. The reality was simple: I really had no desire to continue living. Firefighting kept me accountable and gave me in depth insight into the impact of suicide and I was able to push through my terror of coming out and accepted myself for who I am. I am honoured to represent transgender individuals and firefighters.
YMM: What would you say to your ten year old self?
KM: Girl, it’s going to get harder. Life is going to hurt. Hang in there. Women can be firefighters so don’t give up.
YMM: What is the worst advice you have ever received?
KM: This is a double tie for first place. I was told not to transition in Fort McMurray because I could be killed or lose my job. I was also told not to start hormone replacement therapy (HRT) shortly after the 2016 wildfire.
I acknowledge my privilege. Transitioning is dangerous, but I was never physically attacked. I endured other forms of aggression, oppression, and challenges, but I survived. I was told I would be fired, but was instead embraced by my family within the Regional Emergency Services. I started hormone replacement therapy after fighting the Fort McMurray wildfire for roughly 13 straight days. My first rotation out of the smouldering city coincided with my first endocrinologist appointment in Edmonton. Starting HRT when I did went a long way in helping me heal from the trauma of the fires.
YMM: What are you most grateful for?
KM: I am sincerely grateful for my loving and accepting family. My mother is my biggest supporter and I wouldn’t have achieved my success without her. I did not have the money to go to school and she took out a loan to pay for my fire training and never hesitated in pushing me to reach for my dreams. There are truly no words to adequately express my gratitude to them all.