On June 12, 2012, Kylar Broadus made history by becoming the first openly transgender person to testify before the U.S. Senate. Broadus was speaking in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
Broadus is a professor, attorney, activist and public speaker from Missouri. He is an associate professor of business law at Lincoln University of Missouri, a historically black college where he previously served as chair of the business department. Broadus has maintained a general practice of law in Columbia, Missouri since 1997.
Kylar Broadus, lawyer, professor and Trans People of Color Coalition founder, made history by being the first transgender identified person to testify before the Senate during a hearing on the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (EDNA). If passed, EDNA would ban discrimination against gender expression or sexual orientation in the workplace.
“In honor of Kylar’s history-making testimony,” writes filmmaker Dr. Kortney Ziegler, “I felt it appropriate and very necessary to share his complete interview from my 2008 documentary film, ‘STILL BLACK: a portrait of black trans men.'”
In a recent interview with on UBN Radio – that is, “One on One With Jasper Cole” — I spoke openly about the state of the trans community along with its newest and most high-profiled member, Caitlyn Jenner. However, an online media outlet erroneously misquoted me, saying that because of recent backlash, Caitlyn Jenner has harmed the trans community. This is untrue.
To set the record straight, below is a copy of my statement on the matter, clarifying my comments. Forgive me for speaking about myself in third person with the statement below.
On the relatability of Caitlyn Jenner:
Broadus said it’s hard for most trans people to relate to Caitlyn Jenner because they make less than $10K a year, and don’t have access to the same resources. “They cannot get a job because people will not hire us,” he said. “Most of us are in the shadows, (and work the) underground economy.” He added, “Her story doesn’t connect people to them – that are trans.”
On the backlash of Caitlyn Jenner:
In talking about the visibility of Caitlyn Jenner, Broadus said, “I think it’s a mixed bag.” “I think that Caitlyn has raised the visibility on one hand, and she’s certainly reached a dollar level of people we would have never reached before. On the other hand, there’s always a danger when people, anyone comes out.”
Broadus sympathetically said that Caitlyn Jenner has stumbled in the press with her remarks, but it’s part of the learning curve of being trans. He continued, “There’s a lot of self learning that goes with this (transitioning) and there is no manual.”
He added the trans community is sadly suffering from the backlash of visibility, because the majority of trans people have no rights, and “most of them are homeless, starving, and without jobs.”
On the positive side, the “visibility brings the dialogue, and as I said, Caitlyn has taken us to a different … income level of people that say ‘Wow, this can happen to anybody. This can be in my home,’” he said.
As being trans becomes more mainstream, Broadus said the backlash is to be expected. “It’s like the storm before the calm,” he said.
About the visibility of the trans community:
Despite a banner year of visibility for trans people, “most trans people are not employed because we’re discriminated against in employment, in housing and in public,” said Broadus.
“We’ve come a long way, baby!” he said, “but, there’s a long way to go.”
On anti-transgender violence:
Broadus addressed the record year for anti-transgender violence, saying “we’re in a crisis. We are in an epidemic; actually a pandemic that spans the globe in that brown and black bodies particularly in the trans movement are being killed,” he said. “We are treated as non human.”
For more of Broadus interview, visit www.ubnradio.com, also available on iTunes at
On March 14, 2015, Kylar Broadus served as the keynote speaker for TransCon, a conference by Aqua Foundation for Women for the transgender community. The convening serves as a space to educate and empower the transgender community as well as allies. This year, topics included employment, dating, HIV, trans youth, trans equality, spiritual care and more.
Most people would agree that at the heart of everyone’s “American dream” is securing a good job. Along with that dream comes the right to work hard, provide for yourself and your family and, above all, keep that job and advance in that job based on merit.
We all share the fundamental sense that no one should have to live and work in fear of being victimized or bullied or even fired for simply being who they are. In fact, this sense of fairness is so ingrained in our value system that polls show that 80 percent of Americans believe that there are strong legal protections against workplace discrimination in place already.
The reality is quite different. There is no federal law that bars employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Every day across this country, hardworking people are being discriminated against and fired simply because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender.
I am a transgender American, a man who transitioned from female to male approximately 20 years ago. I was raised in a working-class family with a strong work ethic. I had my first job at the age of 5, working for my father at his evening job. He would take me and my sister to work with him, and this was how we earned our spending money. I recall very vividly cleaning the water fountains in the offices. It was during this time that I learned to take pride in my work. My father showed me how to make the water fountains clean and shiny. I then graduated to the trash cans. From that point on I have always worked a job, and since college I’ve always held two jobs at a time in some form or fashion. My employers have always praised my work.
Prior to my physical transition, I began working at a major financial institution. After I announced my gender transition, only six months passed before I was “constructively discharged” from my employment.
Continue reading at the Huffington Post.
“We are delighted to have Kylar W. Broadus join the Task Force as Senior Public Policy Counsel, leading our Transgender Civil Rights Project which is such an important component of our work,” said Rea Carey, Task Force Executive Director.
Broadus has enjoyed a prolific career as an activist, writer, lawyer, professor, lobbyist and public speaker. As an attorney, Broadus practiced with a focus on LGBT law, particularly, transgender rights. He currently serves as faculty at Lincoln University in Missouri.
“I am extremely honored and excited to be working at the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force given its history in general as a progressive organization but particularly the leadership it has provided in the transgender movement”, said Broadus. “I intend to build off this great work and continue to make the Task Force a key player in the transgender movement.”
In 2012, Broadus was awarded the Susan J. Hyde Activism Award for Longevity in the Movement at the Task Force’s National Conference on LGBT Equality: Creating Change. That same year, he made history as the first transgender American to testify before the U.S. Senate on behalf of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Broadus’ testimony was also personal, because he has faced discrimination due to his gender identity.
He recalls: “After I announced my gender transition, it only took six months before I was ‘constructively discharged’ from my employer. I was harassed until I was forced to leave. The stress was overwhelming. I ended up taking a stress leave for several weeks. In the end, I was forced out and unemployed for about a year before finally obtaining full-time employment.”
Read more here.
From the afro to “pink collar dress,” in this clip, Kylar Broadus talks about how identity (race and gender) has historically been policed in the workplace and today in our schools. Through various case studies, Broadus examines how ingrained dress codes are in our society and how they perpetuate stereotypes.
Transgender Day of Remembrance is important to observe each year for everyone. It’s an opportunity for the world to take note of the rash of anti-transgender violence plaguing our community. But especially for trans people of color, it is a moment to pause and be mindful of those whom we have lost in tragic ways, and to mourn these losses of human life as a means to continue healing and rebuilding ourselves and our communities. We must also use this as a call to action to educate and raise awareness of the need to stop the violence perpetuated against all transgender people but particularly those of color, including in our own communities of color.
The National Anti-Violence Project (NCAVP) shows that trans people of color are the most targeted due to race and lack of conformity of our gender identities and presentations to the greater society. In fact, according to the NCAVP 40 percent of the fatal attacks against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community in 2011 specifically targeted trans women, particularly trans women of color. It’s this combination that seems to make us more susceptible to hate violence, which can come in many forms.
Continue reading on the Huffington Post.
Kylar Broadus was among a group of transgender community advocates that met with White House staff to mark Transgender Day of Remembrance and discuss ways in which the Administration can work together to ensure dignity, equality, and justice for all people. At the meeting, community leaders highlighted a range of issues and concerns of importance to transgender people.
“In the months and years ahead, we look forward to working to ensure the safety and wellbeing of all transgender people,” said Gautam Raghavan, an associate director in the Office of Public Engagement.
The Trans Justice Summit, a one-of-a-kind weekend leadership summit, has a huge variety of trainings and workshops to empower our community and build the movement for Trans Justice in Oregon. Take a look at some of what we have lined up, and don’t miss your chance to be a part of sessions discussing trans friendly skills and services and to connect with the trans community and allies. The Summit will also feature exciting lunch caucuses, including “Language Politics and Gender Theory 101” and “How to be a Great Trans Ally.”
Kylar was the keynote speaker last weekend, but here’s a look at the schedule.
Founded in 1925, the National Bar Association (NBA) is the nation’s oldest and largest association of African-American lawyers and judges. The organization’s constitution states that its objective is to “promote legislation that will improve the economic condition of all American citizens regardless of race, sex, or creed.” Despite its mission to “protect civil and political rights of the citizens and the residents of the United States,” the National Bar Association overwhelmingly defeated a measure that would include LGBT-specific nondiscrimination language in its constitution in a vote of 36-120.
But has the NBA turned its back on Black LGBT lawyers? Kimberley McLeod, at EBONY.com, shares the stories of LGBT lawyers, including Kylar Broadus, and their allies in this fight for equality.
“During the first quarter of the 20th century, twelve African-American pioneers with a mutual interest in, and dedication to justice and the civil rights of all, helped structure the struggle of the African-American race in America.” (From NBA Perspective)