Today, the U.S. Senate held a committee hearing on ENDA, the Employment Non Discrimination Act that the LGBT community has been trying to get passed since 1974. And in an historic moment, Kylar Broadus became the first ever trans person to testify before the U.S. Senate. Broadus, founder of the Trans People of Color Coalition (TPOCC) and a professor at a predominantly African-Amercian university, testified to the committee that he had been gainfully employed for many years — until he came out as transgender. Shortly thereafter, he lost his job, he finds it hard now to make ends meet, specifically mentioning his rising student load debt.
Zack Ford at Think Progress notes Broadus says, “To be unemployed is very devastating, also demeaning and demoralizing.” Ford posted the video and an excerpt of his testimony:
BROADUS: When I used female restrooms, police would accost me. I would have to strip and then they still told me, “Sir, get out of the bathroom,” when I would use the ladies’ room. It’s just humiliating and dehumanizing to say the least.[...]
Prior also to the physical transition, I was working in the financial industry, which is actually a high-paying industry. But again, when I shifted or transitioned, that’s when all the trouble began. And it’s still emotional to me, because it impacted me emotionally — I suffer from post-traumatic stress as a result of the harassment that I encountered in the workplace from my employer.[...]
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.
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