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)
STILL BLACK: A Portrait of Black Transmen is brought to life by the stories of six thoughtful, eloquent and diverse transmen. Preachers, teachers, students and activists educate us simply by making their presence known. Each man brings a colorful and complex richness as he describes his relationship to himself, as well as others in his life — the cadence of his voice keeping in rhythm with how the speaker displays himself to the camera.
“STILL BLACK: A Portrait of Black Transmen more than entertains, it gives the LGBT community an opportunity to learn about itself.”
Me with Christine Quinn, Council Speaker, City of New York
By Kylar Broadus
I was honored to be a delegate this year to the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte. I was one of 13 out transgender delegates. I attended the 2000 convention where there was only one official transgender delegate. While there is always room for improvement, this was movement. Until the rules for delegate selection where changed, it was hard for transgender Americans to become delegates. It is important for several reasons but mainly because this year was the first year that the party platform included “gender identity” and marriage equality which made the Democratic platform the most inclusive of any of the parties. Secondly, the hope is that more people are educated about transgender people. And, thirdly, that more transgender people participate in the process.
President Obama has been the only United States President that has gone on record in support of inclusion for transgender people even before he took the oath of office almost four years ago. The POTUS’ inclusive lens has been amazing. I’ve visited the White House and worked on several issues with federal agencies. This is the first time these organizations have been inclusive of ALL people. I think it’s important for an administration to look like the people it serves. If it doesn’t, then how can it adequately represent us.
President Barack Obama with Kylar Broadus June 2012
Kylar Broadus has been appointed to the Rules Committee for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) 2012 Convention Platform Committee.
Kylar is a critical voice for the LGBT family and will be representing the transgender community and all those voices that often go unheard.
Kylar consistently shows up as requested across the country to shift prevailing perspectives and effect statues and legislation. Please show your support in advancing freedom and change with a financial gift toward upcoming travel expenses.
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“This convention will look different than any other in the history of our party. It’s the most open and most accessible – focused not just on the same old political rituals, but on real Americans coming together at the grassroots level, engaging the American spirit, and enlisting people who want to put their shoulders to the wheel and change our country for the better.” – Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz | Chair, Democratic National Committee
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.
In February 2011, Broadus was awarded the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force’s Sue J. Hyde Award for Longevity in the Movement. Broadus was featured in BlackEnterprise.comdiscussing his personal experience with workplace discrimination. In 2010, Broadus founded Trans People of Color Coalition (TPOCC), the only national civil rights organization dedicated to the needs of trans people of color.
He currently serves on the board of the National Black JusticeCoalition and was board chair from 2007 to 2010. After the Democratic National Convention, follow him in D.C. for Out on the Hill – September 19 – 22, 2012 Black LGBT Leadership Summit.
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.'”
As I flew into Los Angeles for the first-ever trans people of color town hall and the 13th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR), a time to honor the memory of those whose lives were lost due to anti-transgender violence, I had no idea what was happening 30,000 feet below me.
When I landed on the ground, I immediately heard that a trans woman of color, 32-year-old Cassidy Vickers, had been murdered. Another victim had been shot at (but not harmed) in nearby Plummer Park.
Ironically, Plummer Park was where the TDOR event was to be held on Sunday, Nov. 20.
Sadly, it had been less than a week since I had been on a conference call with folks in Detroit in response to the brutal murder of yet another trans woman, Shelley Hilliard, who, at 19 years old, was just beginning her life.
In light of these senseless murders, it is common for misplaced blame to fall on the victims. But no one deserves to die in this way.