Wednesday, March 16, 2011

TransGriot Ten Questions Interview-Kylar Broadus

TransGriot Note: Ten Questions is a segment in which I talk to people inside our community, the up and coming leaders, opinion shapers, artists, thinkers, icons and interesting personalities who are molding and shaping our chocolate trans world.  

Kylar Broadus is one brother I'm looking forward to meeting one day even though we had more than a few get to know you phone and online chats over the years.  He's an attorney, college professor, award winning activist, proud transbrother and board member of the National Black Justice Coalition.  

It's time for Kylar to answer the TransGriot's Ten Questions

1. One of the things that I've always been most proud of is that our transmen such as the late Alexander John Goodrum, the late Marcelle Cook-Daniels, Louis Mitchell, Rev. Joshua Holiday and yourself have been front and center in terms of setting the intersectional leadership pace for the overall TBLG movement,  To what can you attribute the leadership skills inherent and displayed in African descended trans men?

KB- We learn leadership early in our lives from our experiences as black men. We learn that we have to do for ourselves. We don't have the luxury of someone giving us a hand up! We learn we must work harder and jump higher just to be the same. 

2.  What has been the biggest impediment in your mind to forging a unified African American trans community, and can we fix that problem in this decade?

KB-I think like any movement connection and economics play important roles. We are just learning that there are others that are like us and the internet has helped us greatly. Secondly, economics plagues the trans community overall but as statistics show has a greater impact on communities of color. Most of us are just struggling to survive including me. This takes time and energy away from community building.

3.  What's the one thing the community needs to know about Kylar that you feel it is unaware of now?

KB-Wow, tough question! I don’t tend to hide myself but yet, I am a private person. I’m really shy would probably be the big secret!

4.  Who are some of your trans leadership role models and icons?

KB-This is difficult to answer! I think that given the experiences the difficulties that people have then my role models would be anyone choosing to live their live opening and honestly.

5.  What has been the major highlight of your work on behalf of our community?

KB-I don’t know that there are any highlights. I am excited when laws are passed to provide protections and when policies go into place that helps us live human and productive lives. I just love to see people not have to go through the same struggles of the past.

6.  If you had an opportunity to sit with a young high school or college age African descended transman and mentor this person, what advice would you give him?

KB-I would first tell them it’s important to be true to yourself first. Be yourself! Believe in yourself! Never give up hope!

7.  Do you think that the perceptions of African American transpeople inside our cis African American family are getting better, worse or staying the same and why?  

KB-Well, I hate the term “cisgender.” I know you didn’t coin it but it’s one of those terms that drives me crazy. Yet, we have another label!

That being said, I think this is a very interesting question. I think our (Black) families have always accepted us. However, in our communities words and concepts have been different than in the mainstream. We’ve been around and been accepted. When we put new words and a slant (e.g. transman, ftm, transwoman, mtf, etc.) on things it takes awhile for acceptance. By this, I mean our movement as most all have been highly impacted by European culture. It takes awhile for that to be accepted.

8.  What's your perception of the working relationships between African American transmen and transwoman and what can we do to improve them?

KB-I think that we can and do work together. I don’t see a great divide. We have many things in common. I enjoy the collaboration.

9.  What you you like the world to discover about African descended transmen?   

KB-We are people like all people that deserve respect and to be treated with dignity!

10. Where do you see the African-American trans community ten years from now?

KB-I see us as stronger and much more cohesive. It takes awhile when multiple oppressions are present to build a movement.

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