History was made on Tuesday when the U. S. Senate heard testimony from its first ever transgender witness. Kylar Broadus testified at a hearing on the proposed Employment Non-Discrimination Act before the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee. Broadus is a lawyer and professor at Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missouri and the founder of the Trans People of Color Coalition.
Watch the tesimony AFTER THE JUMP ...
Broadus testified about his experience working at a large financial services company in the 1990s. Broadus said that he was harassed and fired after he transitioned. "While my supervisors could tolerate a somewhat masculine-appearing black woman, they were not prepared to deal with my transition to being a black man," he explained.
It is legal in 29 states to discriminate based on sexual orientation. It's also legal in 37 states to discriminate based on gender identity and expression.
Numerous studies have shown that Black and Latina trans women and men are at the greatest risk of violence. The murders of Black transgender women often remain unsolved. Black trans women face "extreme discrimination and poverty", and are more than likely to suffer from violence, physical or sexual abuse, police brutality, HIV/AIDS and bullying, according to a first of its kind survey conducted by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Black Justice Coalition.
"To have a trans person of color shed light on the challenges faced by transgender Americans who simply want the same chance at earning a living and providing for themselves was monumental," says NBJC Executive Director Sharon Lettman-Hicks. "This was a historic moment in the Senate and for our nation as a whole."