Kylar Broadus is founder of the Trans People of Color Coalition. He is an associate professor of business law at Lincoln University (Missouri), an historically black college in Jefferson City, Missouri, a founding member of the Transgender Law and Policy Institute, a member of the National Black Justice Coalition and a former member of the board of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.
After seven years as an employee at a major financial institution, Broadus told his boss of his decision to have a sex change. In addition to beginning hormone therapy treatments, he changed his name to his present moniker and began dressing in a more masculine fashion. Broadus alleges that his boss created a hostile work environment where his every action was recorded; he was questioned about his sex life; he was accused of trying to coerce a White female superior into an affair; and he was inundated with extra work assignments that were frequently changed at the last minute. The covert harassment eventually became overt when Broadus’ superior informed him that he would never advance in the company unless he changed his appearance.
“When I cut my hair off, he said, ‘[You’ll] never be promoted with [your] hair like that, and next time you decide to do anything with your hair, call me first,’” recalls Broadus, now 47. “He said, ‘It was radical.’”
Broadus sought help by reporting the abuse to his human resources department only to be “scolded like a child and told that women don’t do this.” The stress from work led Broadus to therapy sessions where he was diagnosed with depression, severe panic attacks, and post-traumatic stress disorder. At the end of his rope, he eventually left on a constructive discharge notice and sought legal retribution. The lawsuit was filed under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which prohibits employment discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex and national origin. However, the case was dismissed because Broadus resided in Missouri, which is one of 38 states where it remains legal to discriminate based on gender identity or expression, compared to 29 states where—according to the Human Rights Campaign (HRC)—it remains legal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation.
On Tuesday Professor Broadus will have the chance to tell his story to the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (HELP), at a hearing titled, Equality at Work: The Employment Non-Discrimination Act. Professor Broadus will become the first openly transperson to ever testify before the Senate. The 2009 Senate hearing on ENDA included no transgender witnesses, though the House hearing on ENDA featured testimony from transwoman Vandy Beth Glenn, who was fired from her position as a legislative editor for the Georgia General Assembly for being transgender.
Also testifying in favor of ENDA will be M. V. Lee Badgett, research director of the Williams Institute at UCLA and director of the Center for Public Policy and Administration at The University of Massachusetts Amherst. Samuel Bagenstos, a law professor at the University of Michigan, and Ken Charles, vice president for diversity and inclusion at General Mills, Inc. Testifying against the bill will be Craig Parshall, senior vice-president and general counsel of the National Religious Broadcasters Association, who also testified against ENDA in 2009.
The Republicans are phoning-in their opposition to ENDA by calling the exact same witness that already testified at the fall 2009 House and Senate hearings on ENDA. It shows that Republicans can’t find anyone willing to testify under oath in opposition to ENDA, which is supported by super-majorities of the American public. I predict Republican witness Craig Parshall is going to recycle his poorly written testimony for a third time, possibly only changing the date at the top of what he wrote three years ago.Republicans were allowed to choose two witnesses but someone else to testify against ENDA could not be found, according to Almeida.
--Tico Almeida, Freedom to Work
Badgett may be recognizable as one of the witnesses in Perry v Schwarzenegger Proposition 8 trial. She also authored a NYTimes editorial calling for President Obama to issue an Executive Order requiring that companies who do business with the American public not discriminate on the bases of sexual orientation or gender identity. In 2008 Curve magazine named her one of 20 most powerful lesbians in academia.
Bagenstos served as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the Department of Justice from 2009 to 2011. His main field of interest has been disability rights. There is no current member of the administration who has been invited to testify.
Charles works for one of the most honored companies in regards to diversity. Charles could possibly also comment on the executive order since General Mills is a federal contractor that won nearly $200 million in federal money last fiscal year.
The General Mills policy:
General Mills is committed to providing a respectful work environment that is free from discrimination or harassment based on age, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, marital status, disability, citizenship, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or other characteristic protected by law.Parshall is expected to once again claim that the anti-gay free speech rights of Christians are being targeted and that ENDA would "impose a crippling burden on religious organizations", notwithstanding the bill's religious exemption, which he opposes since with it included, the bill could pass.
Every American deserves an equal opportunity to earn a good living, judged by their talent, ability and qualifications free from discrimination. Workplace discrimination based on an employee's sexual orientation or gender identity is reprehensible and has no place in our nation.The bill is expected to have no difficulty passing out of committee since all 12 of the democrats on the committee are sponsors, as is republican committee member Mark Kirk of Illinois.
--Tom Harkin, Committee chair