Earlier this year, Kylar Broadus became the first transgendered witness to testify before the Senate. Broadus was born a woman and underwent gender reassignment surgery in the 1990s. He testified in support of the Employee Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), a proposal aimed at preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in the workplace.
Broadus claims he was forced out of a lucrative job in the financial sector in the 1990s because of his gender identity and had no legal recourse. While Broadus is currently employed as a lawyer and professor at Lincoln University, he asserts he will never recover financially. Broadus explained:
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. With growing despair, I watched my professional connections, support, and goodwill evaporate, along with my prospects of remaining employed. I was harassed until I was forced to leave. I received harassing telephone calls hourly from my supervisor some days. I received assignments after hours that were due by 9 a.m. the next morning. The stress was overwhelming.
Statistics have shown that transgendered individuals are discriminated against in the workplace at a greater rate that those with a traditional gender identity. They also firmly establish that transgendered people are less employed and less well compensated than their non-transgendered counterparts.
The Employee Non-Discrimination Act has been introduced to Congress nearly every year since 1994 with no success.