This past week, Kylar Broadus, lawyer, professor and Trans People of Color Coalition founder, made black queer 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 his testimony, Kylar expressed the discrimination he faced during his stint with a large corporation. He spoke of the unease of his supervisors as "they were not prepared to deal with my transition to being a black man." This led to repeated harassment and an eventual firing.
Kylar: "To be unemployed is very devastating, also demeaning and demoralizing. And then the recovery time--there is no limit on it. I still have not financially recovered. I'm underemployed. When I do talks, I tell people I'm not employable. I was lucky to be where I am and I'm happy to be where I am, but I'm one of the fortunate people that is employed. There are many more people like me that are not employed as a result of just being who they are, being good workers, but being transgender or transsexual. So I think it's extremely important that this bill be passed to protect workers like me."
In honor of Kylar's history making testimony, I felt it appropriate and very necessary to share his complete interview from my 2008 documentary film, "STILL BLACK: a portrait of black tansmen."