History was made on Capitol Hill today as Kylar Broadus became the first transgender witness to testify before the U.S. Senate.
So, what did Kylar have to say to the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee about a life of discrimination?
Kylar, founder of the Trans People of Color Coalition, detailed his experience facing institutionalized discrimination as a member of the trans community and petitioned for the passage of an LGBT-inclusive Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
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.
As no opponents of the LGBT-inclusive bill were present for today's hearing, ThinkProgress reports that questions asked of Kylar were largely positive and informative.