Kylar Broadus, a transgender activist, has become the first openly transgendered person to testify to the Senate. Broadus expressed to the Senate his distress having been employed in a place where he was not allowed to be open about his trans status, being repeatedly reprimanded over using his chosen name, or dressing “as himself.” He says: “When I would go in to do anything, they would always relate to me as male and never understood I had a female gender marker. Obviously it was tough to navigate security. It was tough to navigate employment, where you have to have matching documentation for your employer.”
When he began his transition, from female to male, he repeatedly faced harassment in the workplace from his employer and security. He says he also faced periods of unemployment, having been discriminated over his gender identity.
Broadus has testified to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions over the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) that provides protection against discrimination for LGBT people.
ENDA enforces an end to discrimination based on not just LGBT employees and prospective employees, but to those who might be perceived as such. A study shows prospective employees involved in LGBT rights organizations on their resume’s are less likely to be called back for an interview. For transgender employees, harassment in the workplace is around 90%.
Enforcing the law is difficult however. To provide assistance to individuals requires not just legal assistance, but a change in attitudes of employers and any individual in the workplace, and an acceptance of individuals who may appear different, or live different lifestyles.