Staff

Kylar Broadus, Operations Officer

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, Staff Attorney

Amy K.W. Helfant is a Staff Attorney with Transgender Legal and is admitted to practice in New York. Amy is a 2016 graduate of the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where she 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 with the Sylvia Rivera Law Project. Prior to law school, she worked in the arts and received a BFA from Rhode Island School of Design.

Click to contact Amy.

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.

Sean Madden, Intern

Sean Madden is working toward his LL.M. degree from Fordham University School of Law, expected in December 2017, as a springboard to his resumption of the practice of law. Before returning to law school, Sean worked over 20 years in public and private financial markets as an equity investor and investment banker. He previously practiced law in New York with Cravath, Swaine & Moore and served as a law clerk for Judge Joseph M. McLaughlin of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Sean has served on numerous corporate and non-profit boards of directors.

Sean holds a BSc in Economics with a concentration in Finance from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, a BA in Political Science, also from Penn, and a Juris Doctor degree from Fordham University School of Law where he was valedictorian of his graduating class.  Sean has also earned the right to use the Chartered Financial Analyst designation and has been a member of the CFA Institute since 2005.

Harris Mason, Law Clerk

Harris R. Mason is a rising 3L at the University of Georgia School of Law. While in law school, Harris has served as the Stonewall Law Student Association President and an Executive Board Member of the Working in the Public Interest Conference. He spent last summer interning with the Atlanta Legal Aid Society where he worked to better serve the Metro Atlanta transgender population that lives with or is affected by HIV/AIDS. Before law school, Harris received a Bachelor of Science in Business and Public Policy from Young Harris College. 

 

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.

Bryana Ziegler, Name Change Project Intake Assistant

Bryana Ziegler has a BA in psychology from Hunter College CUNY and is currently enrolled in the Masters of Social Work program at NYU Silver School. She has participated in research in clinical psychology and previously worked with clients at Lenox Hill Hospital. Bryana is a member of Identity House, an organization that provides peer counseling for individuals in the LGBTQIA community. She seeks to follow her passion by continuing in this specialized field.