Kylar Broadus, Senior Counsel

Kylar W. Broadus joined the staff of the Transgender Education & Legal Defense Fund in January of 2017 as Senior Counsel. Broadus was formerly a tenured Professor of Business Law at Lincoln University in Missouri with over 20 years’ experience, and ran his own law practice in Columbia Missouri since 1997, serving all kinds of clients, including transgender, lesbian, gay and bisexual clients. He served as senior policy counsel at the National LGBTQ Task Force and director of the Transgender Civil Rights Project from 2013 to 2015. In 2012, Broadus made history as the first openly transgender person to testify before the U.S. Senate, speaking in support of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).

He currently serves on the board of Freedom for All Americans, an appointment he has held since 2016. He previously served on the National Black Justice Coalition Board, and served as board chair from 2007 to 2010. He founded the Trans People of Color Coalition in 2010, a national organization dedicated to the needs of trans people of color. In 2013 he was featured in OUT Magazine and was recently featured in the documentary “The Trans List” appearing on HBO. Broadus has worked for decades on behalf of people of color and LGBT people for justice and fairness. His goal and mission is that all people be treated fairly and equally. 

Broadus is a graduate of Central Methodist University where he obtained a B.S. in Business Administration in 1985. In 1988, he obtained his law degree from the University of Missouri Columbia School of Law. He wrote the first of its kind article on employment discrimination in 2006, “The Evolution of Employment Discrimination Protections for Transgender People,” which is used in gender and women’s studies classes throughout the country. He currently serves on the William’s Institute Faculty Advisory Counsel. He is well quoted in the media on issues involving transgender rights and speaks regularly on these issues across the country.

Click to contact Kylar.

Tabytha Gonzalez, Office Manager

Prior to working for TLDEF, Tabytha attended Berkeley College for business management, and worked as a teacher’s assistant for the deaf and hearing impaired community. Tabytha also was an inventory specialist at high-volume retail locations. She is a very passionate liaison for Exponents Drug Treatment, an organization that serves LGBT individuals and people who struggle with drug addiction. She also has community ties to grassroots organizations such as Destination Tomorrow, which serves the LGBTQ community in the South Bronx,  and CK Life, which provides supportive services to the transgender community in NYC. Tabytha speaks Spanish and is fluent in American Sign Language (ASL). She is very happy to join TLDEF and help further the vision of the organization.

Click to contact Tabytha.

Amy Helfant, Name Change Project Coordinator

Amy is 2016 graduate of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and is currently pending admission in New York. While in law school, Amy took part in the Cardozo Civil Rights Clinic and the Gertrud Mainzer Family Defense Field Clinic at the Bronx Defenders. She served as a fellow for Cardozo’s Public Service Scholars program, and was on the board of the school’s National Lawyers Guild chapter. During her law school summers, Amy interned with the Family Defense Practice at The Bronx Defenders and the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. Prior to law school, she worked in the arts and received a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design.

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Jazmine Kendrick, Law Clerk

My name is Jazmine Kendrick and I am a second-year law student at Touro Law Center. I received my Bachelors of Arts in Criminal Justice at the State University of New York at Plattsburgh. I believe that once you choose to attend a school you should get as involved as possible. I am currently the New Member Educator for the Black Law Student Association at Touro Law Center. I am also the Diversity Fellow for the Office of Diversity and Inclusion for Touro Law Center. When I graduate from Touro I hope to work in litigation. To ensure that I am as prepared as I can be I have worked hard to earn a position on Touro Law Center’s Moot Court Honors Board and Trial Advocacy Team.

I am passionate about working with members of underrepresented classes. I have been a direct support professional for the mentally disabled for the past five years and a member of Theta Nu Xi Multicultural Sorority Inc. for five years as well. As a member of an underrepresented class I have learned that we are stronger together. Everyone has a place and a voice in this world. I just want to use my voice and education to help remind people of that.

Rita Renner, Bookkeeper

Rita is TLDEF’s bookkeeper.  She also works as a bookkeeper for other non-profit organizations and teaches QuickBooks.  Prior to joining TLDEF, she was in charge of accounts payable and payroll for the town of Darien, CT and then used her masters degree in music education to teach.  She taught band and orchestra for over ten years before playing the trombone for national Broadway tours and on cruise ships.  Rita settled in New York City in 2000 and has been performing as both an instrumentalist and actor.  She is a past president of Crossdressers International and is an avid supporter of TLDEF.

Melissa Sklarz, Director of Development

Melissa Sklarz ran as a Judicial Delegate in Greenwich Village in 1999. She won and became the first trans elected official in New York. Melissa has served as the President of Stonewall Democrats of NYC and Gay and Lesbian Independent  Democrats. She has served on the Board and as Board Co-Chair of Empire State Pride Agenda and National Stonewall Democrats. Melissa has been part of the New York delegation of the last four Democratic National Conventions, including being a delegate in 2016. She has worked with NYPD, Hetrick Martin Institute, and SAGE as adviser or trans community representative. She is currently a Commissioner of the NY State Committee helping to create a memorial for the Orlando Nightclub Massacre, appointed by Governor Cuomo. She worked 19 years as a Director at Actors Federal Credit Union.

Click to contact Melissa.

Jillian Weiss, Executive Director

Jillian T. Weiss is a nationally recognized transgender rights attorney and law professor with three decades of legal experience. Jillian has a powerful track record of fighting for the rights of transgender people in the workplace. Her cases have resulted in landmark settlements and rulings increasing protections for transgender employees and sending an unmistakable message that employment bias will not be tolerated. She is also one of the nation’s preeminent transgender discrimination scholars who keenly understands the power of the courts and progressive government in achieving transgender equality under the law.

Prior to her appointment, Weiss was a tenured Professor of Law and Society at Ramapo College of New Jersey and the founder of the Law Office of Jillian T. Weiss P.C. She has a Ph.D. in Law, Policy and Society from Northeastern University and a J.D. from Seton Hall Law School, as well as a B.A. in Classics from Yeshiva University. Among her milestone cases are Jamal v. Saks & Co., an employment discrimination case against Saks Fifth Avenue, and Chavez v. Credit Nation Auto Sales, LLC, in which the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled that a transgender woman may take her employment discrimination case against a Georgia auto sales company to trial.

In 2014, the United States Equal Employment Opportunity Commission chose her client’s case as the first of two to be litigated by the Commission on behalf of a transgender employee. EEOC v. Lakeland Eye Clinic, PA, resulted in a six-figure settlement. The Department of Justice followed suit in March 2015, in the case of US v. Southeastern Oklahoma State University, which is pending in an Oklahoma federal court. In addition, Weiss and the EEOC brought a transgender employment discrimination lawsuit against Deluxe Financial Services, Inc., one of the nation’s largest check-printing companies. The suit resulted in a large settlement and sweeping workplace policy changes at the company.

Jillian is a past board member of Lambda Legal, has been Chair of the annual Trans Law Symposium, and has consulted with private and public organizations regarding gender identity policy and employee gender transitions, including Harvard University, Boeing and New York City.

Jillian is committed to dismantling the systemic discrimination that inordinately burdens trans people, particularly people of color and others caught at the intersection of multiple forms of prejudice, such as race, class and gender bias.

Click to contact Jillian.

Ali White, Development Associate

Ali has a BFA from Tufts University, where she also honed her communications skills at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. Although a sculptor by profession, with showings all over the country, she has a strong technical background as a Copy Editor. Her political activist background and technical skills make her a perfect administrative addition to the TLDEF team.

Eve Wool, Name Change Project Assistant

Eve is a current MSW/MPH degree candidate at New York University, graduating in May 2017. Eve has strong interests in sexual health, maternal health and reproductive and economic justice. Since starting at NYU, she has interned at the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health on the community mobilization team, working on community education and outreach. She has also worked on a research team at the Center for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies on a study examining the sexual practices and health of LGBTQ individuals living in New York City. In addition to working at TLDEF, Eve currently works at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene in the Bureau of Maternal, Infant and Reproductive Health focusing on maternal health and the implementation of clinical assessments of healthcare facilities across NYC. For her public health thesis project, Eve conducted community based participatory research in Uganda on maternal vaccine safety surveillance. Eve hopes to continue working in maternal health research upon graduation.

Ezra Young, Director of Impact Litigation

Ezra is TLDEF’s Director of Impact Litigation. His work centers on trans rights, with a focus on rights of recognition, employment protections, and health care and insurance coverage issues.

Ezra has represented trans clients in several ground-breaking Title VII cases, including: Jamal v. Saks, Chavez v. Credit Nation Auto Sales, EEOC v. Deluxe Financial Services, EEOC v. Lakeland Eye Clinic, and United States et al. v. Southeastern Oklahoma State University et al.. Ezra has also represented trans clients in administrative actions across the country, including appeals cases seeking coverage for transition related medical care. In early 2016, Ezra won an appeals case before the Medicare Appeals Council, the first case in which the Council ordered a health plan to cover vaginal reconstruction surgery for a transgender woman.

Ezra received a BA in Philosophy from Cornell University. Ezra received his JD from Columbia Law School. While in law school, Ezra was Executive Managing Editor of the Columbia Journal of Gender and Law and Online & Consulting Editor of the Columbia Journal of Race and Law.

Ezra served as Post Doctoral Scholar at Columbia Law School from 2012 to 2014, focussing on trans rights, critical race theory, and intersectionality; Ezra’s studies were supervised by Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw. Concurrently, Ezra served as research director of the Columbia Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies and legal director of the African American Policy Forum.

Prior to joining TLDEF, Ezra was an associate at the Law Firm of Jillian T. Weiss, P.C.

Click to contact Ezra.