September 8, 2021
GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders (GLAD) announced today that its 2021 Spirit of Justice Award will go to Kylar W. Broadus, Esq. GLAD will present the award to Broadus at the 22nd Annual Spirit of Justice Award Dinner on October 21, 2021.
After a virtual Spirit of Justice in 2020, GLAD’s annual dinner and award gala returns to Boston at a new venue, the Boston Park Plaza. Those outside Massachusetts or otherwise unable to attend in person will also be able watch a livestream of the program online.
Honoree Kylar Broadus is a trailblazing transgender rights pioneer. A Black trans man, attorney, author, professor, and founder of the Trans People of Color Coalition, his legal expertise and advocacy have advanced civil rights for transgender people over decades. Kylar, who currently sits on the board of the National Black Justice Coalition, has made substantial contributions to the work of nearly every national LGBTQ rights organization, including the National LGBTQ Task Force, Freedom for All Americans, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and GLAD. He has published essential essays on transgender employment and family legal rights in Transgender Rights and Transgender Family Law (the latter co-edited by GLAD Transgender Rights Project Director Jennifer Levi) and has consulted on major federal civil rights legislation, including the Matthew Shephard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Act and the Employment Nondiscrimination Act (now the Equality Act), for which he was the first out transgender person to testify before the U.S. Senate in 2012. Kylar’s impact on the evolution of employment nondiscrimination law was recognized by President Barack Obama when he was invited to join the President at the 2014 signing of an executive order extending protections to LGBTQ federal employees.
“Kylar’s fingerprints are on nearly all aspects of the work done to advance legal rights for transgender people throughout the country,” said Jennifer Levi, GLAD Transgender Rights Project Director. “His legal insight, activism, and willingness to boldly speak truth with compassion has made a tremendous difference in the lives of transgender people everywhere. I couldn’t be more thrilled that GLAD is honoring him with the extremely well-deserved Spirit of Justice award.”
“It is wonderful to be honored by my friends at GLAD, an organization whose groundbreaking work I admire and value so highly,” said Broadus. “GLAD’s work has for decades advanced and protected LGBTQ people’s ability to live without fear of harassment, seek work and economic opportunity free from discrimination, and access healthcare and other critical, life-saving services. We need that advocacy now more than ever. That I’ve had so many opportunities to proudly partner with GLAD in this important work makes receiving this award all the more meaningful.”
In addition to the presentation of the Spirit of Justice award to Broadus, the event will feature remarks from GLAD Senior Staff Attorney Polly Crozier and from transgender youth advocate Ashton Mota and his mother, Carmen Paulino. Hailing from Lowell, Massachusetts, Ashton is a passionate and well-respected young voice on transgender equality. He courageously shared his story during the Yes on 3 campaign to defend nondiscrimination protections in Massachusetts in 2018 and spoke at a White House Pride month event earlier this year, where he also introduced President Biden. Ashton’s mother, Carmen, is a fierce advocate for her son as well as for transgender youth impacted by the foster care system.
“Following an extraordinarily difficult year for everyone, we look forward to safely reconnecting as a community at October’s Spirit of Justice event,” said Janson Wu, GLAD Executive Director. “Kylar Broadus, Ashton Mota, and Carmen Paulino are incredible leaders in the ongoing fight for racial, economic, and LGBTQ justice. It’s an honor to have the opportunity to celebrate their inspiring work, and to do so among a community of supporters who have demonstrated over and over again in this challenging year their dedication to creating a more fair and just society for all.”
Previous Spirit of Justice honorees include Grace Sterling Stowell, Chai Feldblum, Jose Antonio Vargas, the Honorable Eric H. Holder Jr, Phill Wilson, Jennifer Finney Boylan, Urvashi Vaid, Margaret J. Marshall, Deval Patrick and his family; Reverend Irene Monroe; Bishop Gene Robinson; Beth Robinson, John Ward, Terrence McNally, Mandy Carter; Reverend William Sinkford, Tim Gill, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, Tony Kushner, Laurence Tribe, and Mary L. Bonauto.
GLAD’s 22nd Annual Spirit of Justice Award Dinner is chaired by Annika Bockius-Suwyn and Ray Cheng and will take place Thursday, October 21 at the Boston Park Plaza. The evening’s program will also be streamed from the venue for those who are unable to attend in person. The venue is mobility accessible and CART interpretation services are provided. GLAD is following state and federal guidance regarding COVID. More details, including updated COVID protocols as well as tickets and sponsorships for both the in-person dinner and the virtual event are available at www.glad.org/soj.