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The 2012 Election: The Transgender Decision Comes Down to Inclusivity vs. Exclusivity

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This year, 2012, it is very important for all LGBT people to vote, especially transgender Americans. If we ever hope to achieve equality and freedom, we must speak out and vote in the 2012 election. We are getting a chance to speak loud and clear about our needs and hopes for the future. President Obama has been inclusive of the T in the LGBT family. My HuffPost blog "President Barack Obama and Transgender Rights: The Real Deal" speaks to his inclusivity of all LGBT Americans, especially the transgender community. I'll vote for the party that includes me, not the one that excludes me. Inclusivity is essential if we are to recognize and respect the diversity of others.

I am honored to write about a brave transgender person of color, Kylar Broadus, whom I have gotten to know in the last year through the organization he founded in 2010, Trans People of Color Coalition (TPOCC), the only national civil rights organization dedicated to the needs of trans people of color. As a trans person of color myself, I have recognized that we need our own, loud voice so that we can achieve equality in employment and housing. TPOCC is fighting for the rights and freedoms of minority transgender Americans, who are often forgotten under the LGBT umbrella.

On June 12, 2012, Kylar Broadus made U.S. history by becoming the first openly transgender person to testify before the U.S. Senate. Kylar was speaking on behalf of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would prohibit employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Kylar is also making history this week at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., my home state. Kylar has been appointed to the Rules Committee for the Democratic National Committee's 2012 Convention Platform Committee.

Minority transgender Americans need visibility and recognition so that we can fight for nondiscrimination and achieve equality. Minority transgender Americans are fighting for jobs; a sure place to live; steady, fair employment; and the ability to live freely and fairly every day of our lives. The legal system consistently imprisons minority transgender Americans unjustly. Our main goal is survival and the ability to overcome obstacles and succeed. Success cannot come in the dark but only through the light and recognition by others. I lived in the darkness and under the radar for many years, as do so many of my transgender brothers and sisters, but true freedom can only be fought in the light.

Minority transgender Americans are finding it difficult to get jobs, find places to live, keep food on the table, and have a stable daily life. Kylar Broadus is a law professor and practicing attorney, and I am studying law myself, so that we can help fight for the laws needed to protect the voices that are rarely heard. Few minority transgender Americans have family support or financial help when they start the transformational journey, which is emotional and very costly. All transgender Americans need equal rights and freedom, especially minority transgender Americans.

I am one voice speaking out about the African-American transgender journey and our fight for equality. I join with Kylar Broadus in speaking loud for trans people of color, who often feel alone, rejected, and unloved by society. All transgender people, be proud and rise to claim all God has in store for you. You are loved, wanted, and cherished for your uniqueness. Always remember that you are never alone or forgotten.

To learn more about the Trans People of Color Coalition (TPOCC), go to http://www.transpoc.org.